Senior Finance Minister oversees signing of contracts for construction of 287 community roads in Region Six totalling $8.8 billion
-as Government continues its aggressive development agenda
As Government continues its aggressive development agenda countrywide, Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Wednesday oversaw the signing of contracts for the construction of 287 community roads in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) totalling $8.8 billion. The works will be carried out by 200 contractors. Joining the finance minister in overseeing the signing of the contracts, which took place at the Albion Community Centre Ground were Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill and a team from that Ministry as well as Regional Chairman, David Armogan and other regional officials.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Singh explained to those gathered at the event that it might seem like a simple signing ceremony but ‘an initiative that will see 287 roads in communities across the length and breadth of Region Six being rebuilt and, in some cases being rebuilt for the first time, by any stretch of the imagination, the construction or reconstruction or rehabilitation of 287 roads in a single Region is a truly momentous occasion.”
“…and I believe that the people of the beneficiary communities are already seeing the impact of these investments,” Dr. Singh added noting that ‘many of you know, you’ve seen me in your respective villages. I have had the privilege of going to communities and witnessing roads that previously were dams… many of them never having been in receipt of the benefit of a finished surface- and I have gone back and seen how the construction of a road where previously there was a dam, the immeasurable difference this makes to communities.”
The finance minister reminded that as a result of the responsible and prudent management of Guyana’s economy, Government is able to fix more roads than ever before and to fix them more quickly.
“It takes careful management of the resources of the country to ensure that we are able to earmark resources at this level to be able to invest in infrastructure in the manner in which we are doing,” Dr. Singh emphasized.
“If you examine the composition of the Budgets during the APNU/AFC years, versus the composition of the Budgets during the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) years in Government, there is one very distinct difference…until 2014 when we were in government and would have appropriated our last budget there was a particular trend and that trend was visibly broken during 20150-2020 and was only restored from 2021 and what was is that trend? Throughout the years that the PPPC has been in government, we have recognised the importance of investing in public capital assets or public capital goods and so every PPP/C Government budget reflects a strong emphasis on the capital budget,” the Minister reiterated.
Dr. Singh then juxtaposed this with the APNU/AFC’s period in office where he recalled that ‘there was an immediate decline, an immediate slashing of the capital budget and an immediate spike in the recurrent budget’.
“The capital budget is used to build roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, airports, airstrips -investing in the things that matter for the long term of our country. The recurrent budget is essentially what we would call government consumption-transportation, meals and refreshments-and if you examine the composition of the budget during the APNU/AFC years, you will see that as soon as they came into government they slashed the capital budget and they dramatically increased the recurrent budget-the amount they were spending on meals and travel,” he concluded.
The finance minister then promised on behalf of President Irfaan Ali and the current administration that Government is committed to continuing to work until every street is fixed in every village in Region Six and every area countrywide.
Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill, in his remarks noted that while defending the supplementary funds in the National Assembly for the construction of more roads, he had emphasized that as a country ‘we have been able to do more than we anticipated’.
‘So at the beginning of the year when we had the National Budget, we had a sum that was allocated for the building of community roads, what we call miscellaneous roads, we went out to tender, we signed contracts, and we saw the execution of a number or projects. The Minister of Finance informed that there was fiscal space and because of that fiscal space, we received an allocation to be able to do more community roads,” he explained to residents.
“Across the nation, your government that you have elected, the PPP/C administration, which is led by President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has done more than they promised to do. We are not in an environment where the people in holding their government accountable, are asking the question or making the statement ‘I hope the government keeps their promise’. We can proudly say that your government has done more than they have promised” the Public Works Minister posited amidst a round of applause from residents.