House approves Natural Resources’ $1.44B budget

-Forest Inventory Study 30% complete

-Increased monitoring to enforce regulations and mercury usage for 2019

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday December 11, 2018

The Ministry of Natural Resources’ 2019 budgetary allocation of $1.4Bilion was approved by the National Assembly this afternoon.

The ministry was allocated $873Million for current expenditure and $573Million for capital expenditure. These are divided as follows: Policy Development and Administration current expenditure $$34Million and capital expenditure $437Million; and Management current expenditure $526Million and capital expenditure $135M.

Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes.

A question was posed about the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s (EITI) provisions to monitor resources and conduct a reconciliation report via the UK-based company, Moore and Stephens. Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes, on behalf of Minister Raphael Trotman, explained that the report, due next year, is being done at a cost of $29Million over an 18-month duration.

The increase of security from $13Million to $19Million was noted by the opposition. The minister explained that the ministry is footing the additional $7Million for security services at a recently occupied Lot 55 Main Street property. The building is being rented at a cost of $20.16Million annually. The minister also explained that the ‘Local Travel and Subsistence’ amount which doubles in 2019 to $10Million is due to increased monitoring of hinterland locations for mercury usage and enforcement.

The $50Million allocated for the Forest Inventory Study was revised to $35Million, under (capital expenditure). When asked by the Opposition what percentage of the study was completed, Minister Broomes said the funds will be used to purchase a vehicle, an ATV, computer systems, GPS Software and other items.

It was further explained to the House that 30 percent of the project was completed with 100 percent of 2018’s phase complete. Minister Broomes stated that the second phase of FCIS will entail the allocation of $244Million (current expenditure) for zoning of flora and fauna, among other activities. It will be managed by the Guyana Forestry Commission, providing critical information to foresters and other stakeholders. A commitment was also given by the minister to provide information as requested.

Paul Mc Adam.

Images: Keno George.

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