Region Six will be enhanced; budgeted $6.1B approved

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Several regions’ budgets were today approved by the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly. With the approved sum of $6.1B, Region Six, East Berbice Corentyne, will benefit from improved infrastructure in the areas of roads, bridges, agriculture,  health care delivery and educational facilities.

The allocated sum will be spent on:

  • Regional Administration and Finance – $169M
  • Agriculture -$823M
  • Infrastructure – $414M
  • Education delivery-$2.882M
  • Health services -$1.809M

Under infrastructure, several roads, bridges and government buildings will be rehabilitated, constructed and maintained.  Bridges including the Vibert Bridge, East Bank Berbice (EBB), Calber Bridge, and New Vigilante among others will be repaired while a heavy-duty bridge at Whim and a foot-path bridge at Chesney, Albion will be constructed to benefit the residents in those areas.

Several roads in New Amsterdam, East Bank Berbice and Belmont among other areas across the region will be rehabilitated and constructed into concrete and asphaltic roads.

For agriculture, drainage and irrigation works will be carried out including backfilling, and repairs to revetments, and excavators. Some of the funds allocated for agriculture will also go towards providing lubricants for excavators and mini excavators and fuel for drainage and irrigation pumps among others.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Zulfikar Mustapha then questioned the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan as to whether the excavators are operational and what measures will be put in place to deter pilfering of fuel.

Minister Bulkan responded that all the excavators catered for are operational and pilfering is not considered a major issue for the region since, currently fuel is being transported by boat and is being monitored by an officer and routine checks are made periodically.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP),Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo  asked the Communities Minister how much from the budgeted $385M in 2016 was spent on drugs and medical supplies. Minister Bulkan in response said that approximately $60M was spent for the acquisition of all medical supplies except oxygen gas for the New Amsterdam Hospital. The oxygen was purchased through the Ministry of Health. The remainder of the money was given to the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) and Caribbean Meditron among other agencies.

In a follow-up question, Dr. Mahadeo noted that the $385M that was budgeted last year still saw many instances of drug shortages and supplies in the region and asked whether the $400M budgeted in 2017 would  be adequate to provide drugs and supplies. To this, Minister Bulkan responded that there may have been few instances of drug shortages but the $400M allocated is anticipated to meet the pharmaceutical needs.

Additionally, Minister Bulkan revealed that works will be carried on the New Amsterdam, Skeldon and Siparuta Hospitals in 2017.

Meanwhile, several schools and hostels will be rehabilitated in the new year while several teachers are expected to benefit from training to improve competence and enhance their teaching methodology.

 

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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