National Assembly clears $4.1B advanced by former gov’t

The National Assembly, on Monday, cleared $4.1 billion in Contingency Fund advances utilised by the APNU+AFC Government in 2019.

Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh presented Financial Paper Number Two of 2019 with the schedule of Contingency Fund advances totalling $4,150,242,391 for the period June 13, 2019 to December 3, 2019.

The Fund included both Current and Capital Estimates at approximately $223.2 million and $3.9 billion respectively.  Dr. Singh told the National Assembly that the multi-billion-dollar sum represents money withdrawn from the Contingency Fund by the former Administration, but which was not cleared due to an absent Parliament.

“I must add that in keeping with the Constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, the advances that were issued from the Contingency Fund are required to be cleared. We are now bringing this Financial paper for the purposes of clearing those accounts,” he said.

The advanced funds covered several sectors including Agriculture, Public Infrastructure, and Health.  

These include $179 million to facilitate emergency works in Regions Two, Four, Five and Six to reduce flooding. The Government also too the APNU+AFC to task over a $1.7 billion advanced to facilitate emergency works on the East Coast Demerara.

Minister of Public Works, Hon Bishop Juan Edghill said the PPP/C inherited a system that saw continued flooding along the East Coast and he questioned the reason for such a large withdrawal.

Some $40 million was also withdrawn to repair two generators for the Port Kaituma Power and Light Incorporated. The Government also condemned this withdrawal, with Minister Edghill noting that the generators were derelict as they had not been maintained for at least three years.

The sum of $2,176,997,945 was also used to facilitate immediate funding to the Central Housing and Planning Authority for land transferred by the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL).

The Coalition also used another $13.8 million to conduct a vaccination ‘mop-up’ campaign due to low coverage.

And some $30 million was used to purchase additional fuel and lubricants for the Manarabisi and Black Bush Polder pump stations to facilitate irrigation of farmlands.

The Financial Paper was presented ahead of the consideration of Government’s $18 billion Supplementary budget.