Public Infrastructure Ministry records significant achievements in 2017

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, December 28, 2017

Amidst challenges, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has recorded an outstanding performance for the year 2017 and is prepared to work even harder in 2018.

This was reported today by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson at the Ministry’s end of year press conference held at the Transport and Harbours Sports Club.

David Patterson, Minister of Public Infrastructure.

The Ministry was allocated the sum of $42.3B in the 2017 National Budget and expended some 73 percent of that amount.

Minister Patterson said the Ministry’s 2017 work programme’s success was as a result of teamwork with all members from the Work Services Group (WSG), Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL), Transport and Harbour Department (T&HD) and Maritime Administration among the others.

The Minister highlighted that one of the main challenges the Ministry faced during 2017 was understaffing. He noted that the staff at his Ministry went beyond the call of their mandate despite the ministry being understaffed.

“This is a problem faced by other Ministries as well, and coupled with that we are competing with a very active and resurgent private sector. To this end, this year even though we were able to recruit engineers for all the ten administrative regions, we, unfortunately, lost some staff to the private sector and in two cases to other sister ministries.”

Another major challenge highlighted was the capacity of contracting services. Minister Patterson said though 2017 was a better than 2016, there are still too few skilled contractors in the system.

The Public Infrastructure Minister explained that for the large and medium scale projects in the Ministry such as roads and sea and river defence, the large contractors which number about 20 to 25, continue to receive the jobs.

However, he also mentioned that the government will not only be assessing the technical capacity of those contractors and their cost structures but will also be looking at their past performance and workload.

“If a contractor has a large workload the new system that will be introduced will preclude him from having another contract which will increase his workload and decrease his capacity to execute,” Minister Patterson explained.

Minister Patterson said the demands for the services of the Ministry will increase and more work is yet to be done in 2018.

One of the new projects that will be pursued in 2018 is the natural gas project. The Minister emphasised that the aim of the “transitional project” is to get the natural gas to shore and to supply conversion of the natural gas to electricity to augment the grid.

 

By: Ranetta La Fleur

 

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