MoIPA on sound footing to deliver Budget 2019

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has been properly briefed as it relates to public spending as Government continues to make a concentrated effort in ensuring national development is realized.

The Ministry of Finance handed the blue print to the Ministry when it (the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs) hosted a Conference with senior management functionaries Wednesday last at the Resource Centre on Woolford Avenue.

Representing the Ministry of Finance was Director of the Project Cycle Management Division, Tarachand Balgobin.

Discussions centered around the delivery of the Public Sector Improvement Program (PSIP) since it will ultimately determine public spending.

Balgobin, in explaining the process, emphasized that a pro-active plan is needed, pointing to a 5-Star Government proposed Approach, which with proper implementation, will ensure budgetary allocations for the respective Ministries are maximized.

The first of the five deemed ‘The Quick Gains’ approach will see a matrix developed for all roll over projects with stipulated timelines and progress reports, and once those timelines and guidelines are observed, implementation of project(s) will be executed in accordance with Government’s developmental agenda.

This approach will identify issues, challenges concerns (if any) that were encountered during the execution phase.

‘The Green Dot’ approach, the second recommended, approach will see projects budgeted for in 2019 executed in a timely manner, since they would have been in “a state of readiness” following the acquisition of designs and Bill of Quantities.

Here again, a matrix must be developed which must include Name of Project, date advertised, Close Date of Bids, Date for Evaluation to be completed, Date for Award from the National Procurement Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Date of No-objection from Cabinet (if necessary), Date of Commencement and Completion of Works.

The third phase or ‘The Yellow Dot’ approach focuses on projects for which no designs are available and hence cannot be tendered.

This time, the matrix must include, Name of Project, Preparation of designs (if In-House), Preparation of TOR for consultant (if External design consultant), Date for Launch of tender, Closing Date, Award date and Period of design and preparation of Bill of Quantities.

Hereafter, Ministries must apply the Green Dot status, followed by the Quick Gain status as required.

The fourth in the five-star approach is the ‘Long Hanging Fruit’ which refers to the procurement of goods and services.

This approach will also see several guidelines observed. Among them, acquiring technical specifications (where technical specifications are not available, prepare specs immediately), commencement of the tendering process and as far as practical, group procurement of similar goods, equipment and supplies across departments/divisions, then proceed to the ‘Green Dot’ phase.

The fifth and final approach is the ‘REDDD Flag’.

This phase identifies projects that are not yet identified in budget 2019 among them miscellaneous roads, drains, bridges, schools, health facilities, police stations to name a few.

Balgobin, who has more than forty years’ experience in the public sector, emphasized that “this exercise requires a FAN out by PCMD (Project Cycle Management Division) to assist with the speedy identification of prioritized projects and to assist the agencies to develop an aggressive procurement plan to move from REDDD to Yellow to Green”.

“This is in preparation for all the development that’s coming because in a couple years’ time, there is going to be an inflow of money into Government’s coffers that will drive the demand for Goods and Services in the private sector. There will be more roads, more schools more facilities and your Ministry (MoIPA) will be participating in that and if the multiplicity of agencies cannot spend in every succeeding year one hundred percent,” Balgobin note.

Pointing as far back as 2014, where public spending reached 62.8%, in 2015 – 77.8%, in 2016 – 89.3%, in 2017 – 103.5% and in 2018 – 92.3%, the PCMD Director said clearly, spending has been a challenge in the public sector and “your creativity, illegibility, your ability to be proactive, your ability to be always ready, working diligently to develop your sector by making sure that you implement your budget effectively and efficiently is needed, an that’s the charge”.

Balgobin categorically stated that the public sector is the main driver for the private sector, and as such, it is fundamental that Governmental Ministries and Agencies maximize their spending ability base on budgetary allocations.

A paradigm shift is expected to take place in the Guyanese economy, when oil Giant Exxon Mobile commences production in the Oil and Gas sector, and the incumbent Government is cognizant of this, thus putting the necessary mechanisms in place to ensure spending is up to its maximum.

Budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs in 2019 totals $1.9B for major improvements in the hinterland in the areas of Education (school uniform program), Primary and Secondary Health Care and Welfare Support, Entrepreneurship, Water Resource Management, Leadership and Governance, Land Dispute resolution, Extension and Demarcation and Cultural Preservation.

This is all in keeping with a ten-point plan laid out by His Excellency David Granger during the caucus of the National Toshao’s Council (conference for village leaders) in 2015.

The Ministry is well on track to deliver to the indigenous peoples its mandate with approximately 95% expended for both Capital and Current in 2018.

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