“Use it or lose it”- Min. Bulkan urges regional administration on capital expenditure

DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 17, 2018

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan today during the Action Roundtable for Regional Development 2018, called on those at the helm of the regional administrations to use or face the likelihood of losing their budgetary allocations in light of Government’s plan to make programme cuts to facilitate severance payments.

Officials and regional representatives at the Action Roundtable for Regional Development 2018.

The Minister said an additional $2B, which was not catered for in the 2018 National Budget, will have to be acquired before the end of January this year. This is to ensure that sugar workers are paid, therefore budgetary cuts to programmes of the respective ministries and agencies are impending.

“If you don’t use it, there is a great likelihood you could lose it, so in addition to all the other factors …the allocations that have been made to the respective regions need to be implemented…this is one additional factor,” the Minister told the regional heads and representatives.

The importance of effective and efficient implementation and execution of their respective work programmes was emphasised by the Communities Minister.

It was reminded that the regions have benefited this year from an additional $2.1B, which is an approximate 5.6 percent increase from 2017 for the capital programme. This, Minister Bulkan pointed out, is despite the fiscal constraints imposed by the traditional sectors of the economy.

“This is part of our Government’s efforts to ensure that the decentralised organs deliver services to our people as part of the strategic agenda to inspire confidence in the system and to ensure people’s participation in the Local Government Elections,” he noted.

A stricter approach is being taken by the administration to also ensure the timely and effective execution of the capital programmes regionally. In this vein, Minister Bulkan disclosed that there will be monthly plenaries of the Cabinet where each ministry will have to present progress reports on the rate of implementation of their capital programmes. This is in an effort to strengthen regional procurement systems.

Those gathered at the Action Roundtable were reminded that the timely execution of their work programmes will be to the benefit of the region’s people. The minister iterated that regional administrators should revisit their approach to planning and implementation, urging that every effort be made to ensure the proper functioning of respective procurement and planning departments.

Officials and regional representatives at the Action Roundtable for Regional Development 2018.

Administrators and representatives were then urged to strictly adhere to their submitted procurement plans. Equally, the Communities Minister stressed the need for there to be value for money.

He noted that “Our spending of public money ought to be guided by the principals of accountability, transparency, and ethics in order to ensure we get value for money.”

The Regional Executive Officers (REOs) were also reminded that they are the ones who have the responsibility of guiding the spending of monies in the public purse, therefore, the Minister said the onus is on them to ensure that there is “no semblance of impropriety” or corrupt practices perpetrated by anyone in their administrations.

Section 11 (4) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, he posited, defines proper use as the efficient, effective, and ethical action in the expenditure of public money.

This, Minister Bulkan said, does not wish to babysit the administrative heads, but expects that each region will leverage its resources to its own benefit.

He reiterated his ministry’s commitment to providing the necessary support to the regional administration.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

 

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