Over $80M approved in supplementary provisions for Agriculture Ministry
Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2016
The National Assembly this evening approved in excess of $80M in supplementary provisions requested and spent by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2015. The House was told that the money was used to address critical needs in the sector.
Opposition Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj, asked Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, to provide details on the $24.4M spent by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
Holder explained that the monies spent was to facilitate the maintenance of equipment, increased labour cost for the supervision, monitoring and operation of pumps, pontoons excavator and dragline.
Holder also informed the House that $49M was spent to provide assistance to coconut farmers affected by the Red Palm Mite (RPM) infestation. Over 540 farmers were in receipt of chemicals and requisite training required for the treatment of infected plants.
The Agriculture Minister noted that unprecedented rainfall in the latter part of 2015 and early 2016 resulted in the need for an increased level of operation from the NDIA, its staff and equipment, hence the monies were spent to offset this additional unbudgeted cost.
Holder also justified the Ministry’s request of an additional $8.1M for security services. The explanation provided to the House was that the requested sum was for the provision of additional security guards at the Ministry of Agriculture and this was necessary because of frequent break ins.
The issue arose as the Assembly met in the Committee of Supply to consider Financial Paper No. 3/2015 – current and capital expenditures as presented to the House by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan. The overall sum which the administration is seeking to be approved by the House amounts to $799, 897, 637.