Four-month Budget to target pressing issues in the sector – Agri-Minister

Ministry of Agriculture

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

As the PPP/C Government prepares to present its four-month budget for 2020, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, has disclosed that his Ministry’s submission will target pressing issues in the sector.

“We know that there was no Budget for 2020 because the previous [APNU+AFC Coalition] Government held on to power for many months after the no-confidence motion was passed. Even after the March 2 elections, they refused to accept defeat, and as a result, Guyana suffered. Projects were either put on hold or unable to start, and as such, the country suffered. Now that the PPP/C is in power, we will soon table a four-month Budget to get critical projects up and running,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister further noted that agencies were tasked to revise their old Budget submissions to reflect projects that are urgent.

Agencies are scheduled to submit their respective Budgets this week to the Minister and the Permanent Secretary, after which, those submissions will be made to the Ministry of Finance.

Minister Mustapha noted that the urgent needs of farmers will take precedence in the upcoming Budget.

“From the Ministry’s end, farmers’ critical needs will be prioritized. We will be looking to improve drainage and irrigation, infrastructure and purchase new pumps. There are also some existing pumps that we will be fixing and some cultivation dams that need rehabilitating. We also hope to rehabilitate critical structures in the MMA that have been neglected for years,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Budget is expected to strengthen the Ministry’s extension capabilities to address pest and disease management and chemical use management.

Last week, Vice President, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, announced that extraordinary circumstances have forced the Government to present a Budget in 21 days.

“It takes 179 days to prepare a Budget from the date the circular goes out to the date of presentation in Parliament… but we want the Budget prepared, and we are working towards preparing a Budget in 21 days,” said Dr. Jagdeo.

Last week, Minister Mustapha, during a virtual press conference, revealed that several of the Ministry’s agencies are in a terrible financial state. He pointed out that severe mismanagement was the cause and that he is working to bring order to the sector.

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