Press Release – Agri. Ministry urges contractors to complete critical D&I works

‘Once works are complete Mocha residents should see immediate improvements to the D&I’, says Minister Mustapha

During a recent community outreach to Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD), Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha met scores of farmers and assured them that his Ministry will be working with them to ensure their issues are addressed.

While commenting on commitments made during the visit, Minister Mustapha said his Ministry is committed to having the works completed within the shortest possible time.

One of the issues raised during the meeting was the delay in the completion of works being conducted at the outfall channel in Little Diamond, EBD.  Minister Mustapha urged contractors working on critical drainage and irrigation project in Mocha and its environs, to ensure they stick to the contractual deadlines.

He added that officials from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) regularly engage the contractor carrying out the works to have them completed soon.

“Since taking office, we’ve been engaging contractors about the delays in the completion of several projects. Only recently, we saw the Ministry of Education taking action against a contractor for failing to complete a project on time. The contractor working in the Little Diamond outfall channel is currently doing some revetment works. He was expected to have these works completed at the beginning of the month. We’ve engaged him and he has committed to having the works completed before the end of the year. Once these works are completed, we should see immediate improvements to the drainage and irrigation in the area,” Minister Mustapha said.

During his engagement with farmers, most of whom aired a number of concerns about insufficient drainage and irrigation, Minister Mustapha said the Ministry will soon commence works to enhance the community’s drainage and irrigation systems. Following the outreach, officials from the NDIA visited the community and carried out a needs assessment of the works needed to bring relief to the community.

Minister Mustapha further said the Ministry is currently in the process of purchasing a number of machines to add to its fleet. This, he said, will improve the Ministry’s ability to carry out much needed drainage and irrigation works in several communities across the country.

“There is a lot of work to be done and we need more machines to do these works. NDIA is in the process of procuring some more machines to improve our services. Since taking office, I’ve been meeting with farmers all across the country. NDIA has been moving machines around to different communities to assist with these works. In the case of Mocha, our officers had a follow-up meeting to get an idea of what is urgent and we are currently moving machines around to have the works there completed,” Minister Mustapha said.

The Minister also said that he was in possession of the needs assessment report and major works identified will be budgeted for in the 2021 National Budget.

“Coming into office, I knew a lot of work had to be done. Although we were able to do some amount of work, we were not able to do as much as we hoped but rest assured; these projects will be catered for in the 2021 National Budget and other subsequent budgets. Our Heads of Departments have already started preparation for that,” Minister Mustapha said.

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