Finance Ministry’s Budget approved with few questions

GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, December 21, 2016

The examination of the 2017 estimates and expenditures for the various Ministries concluded today in the National Assembly. The sum of $24.940B was considered and approved by the Committee of Supply for the Ministry of Finance.

The allocated sum will go towards capital and current expenditures for the Ministry. These include:

  • Policy and Administration Current Expenditure- $13.295M
  • Policy and Administration Capital Expenditure-$3.195B
  • Public Financial Management Current-$8.310B and
  • Public Financial Management Capital-$139.551M

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan said that increased allocations for the Guyana Revenue Authority, one of the ministry’s sub-agencies, will go towards the competitive packages for the Director, Deputy Director and other staffers for the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

This was in response to questions posed by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Irfaan Ali. The Minister also gave a commitment to provide an organisational chart illustrating the management structure of the FIU.

Asked about the need for a new headquarters for the GRA, the Finance Minister expressed optimism that a new location could be identified as the current building has some well documented problems.

Opposition MP, Juan Edghill then questioned the sum set aside for the consultancies on the Government’s Green Strategy. In response, the Minister said that the unit’s figures were for consultancies. These would be done in partnership with the United Nations, the Minister said.

The Finance Minister was also asked about future allocations for training of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) members. The Minister replied that his Ministry will remain a key stakeholder in mobilising funds for the PPC. He added that any sums requested would depend on what the commission requests.

MP Ali also asked about Guyana’s membership with the Islamic Bank. The Minister said that Government has suggested two projects for their immediate attention and a programming mission to develop a country strategy in the near future. A high-level meeting to be held in Suriname, the Minister added, will be attended by at least five officials and this will part of the effort to fast track financing via the Islamic Bank.

In response to a question about the spending of $66M for the Low Carbon Development Policy Programme’s ‘Land Titling Project’ by Opposition MP, Pauline Sukhai, the Minister said, the initial funding was made possible under the Guyana REDD +Investment Fund (GRIF) that was established after Guyana and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The Minister said it is based on indicative spending, and if more funds were needed, then they would be made available. He also offered to give a list of the villages to benefit from the process after the Sitting was concluded.

The House subsequently approved the sums allocated for the Ministry of Finance, just after 14:30hrs.

 

By: Paul Mc Adam

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