GTUC proposes more focus on healthcare in 2019 National Budget

─ Minister Sharma says budget consultation with GTUC “fruitful”, looks forward to continued engagement

─ role of union in budget process re-emphasised

─ Junior Finance Minister commits to focused discussions with Public Health Ministry on GTUC proposals for the health sector

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, September 6, 2018

Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma today met with General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis as part of the ongoing 2019 National Budget consultations.

Minister Sharma welcomed the participation of the GTUC in this process and assured that the proposal put forward will be used as a guide in formulating the budget. He emphasised the importance of the union.

In the proposal, presented by Lewis, the GTUC cited the importance of a healthy society to the nation’s development.

Minister within the Finance Ministry, Jaipaul Sharma and General Secretary of GTUC, Lincoln Lewis following the budget consultations.

The GTUC, he said, “would like to see resources allocated in a structured approach to the treating of health that takes into consideration, wellness …preventative management, incentives, public education, medical check-ups, etc.… and curative…health institutions staffed with requisite personnel, medications, nutrition, therapy etc.”

As it relates to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the union is recommending that innovative approaches be taken in areas of care, given the strain medical care is placing on the Scheme’s revenue.

Further, Lewis believes should these issues form an important aspect of the budgetary allocation, the GTUC is convinced they will create a healthier and more productive workforce, foster social cohesion and overall place Guyana in the category of More Developed Countries in “the global scheme of things.”

Minister Sharma expressed his willingness to examine the proposal in greater detail while pointing out government’s trend from 2015 of allocating the most resources to the Education and Health Sectors.

He then called on the GTUC to present a more detailed proposal on the recommendations for the health sector. The minister committed to having focused discussions with the Ministry of Public Health on how these recommendations can be incorporated in the government’s healthcare plan.

The Junior Finance Minister reminded that while everyone has needs and every sector demands resources, government has to find a way of allocating limited resources, keeping in mind its thrust to bridge the gap between Coastland and Hinterland.

The minister dubbed the consultation as fruitful and looks forward to continued engagements with the GTUC.

By: Stacy Carmichael.

Image: Jameel Mohamed.

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