– Ministers pleased with sector allocations, say funds will ensure continued development
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, today in the National Assembly presented the $300.7B 2019 National Budget, the largest since the Coalition Government took office in 2015. Ministers of Government and other Members of Parliament had positive reviews on the budget.
Minister Jordan, speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI) immediately after his over four-hour presentation in the House, said the monies which would have been allocated to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) have been redirected across several sectors.
He noted, “I always maintained that had we had a GuySuCo that was contributing to the treasury as opposed to taking from the treasury we would have fulfilled all the promises as it relates to increases in income well beyond what we have been able to do.”
While some persons scoffed at the increase in pension of $1,000, Minister Jordan reminded that this amount translates into almost $1Billion. The Old Age pension will stand at $20,500 as opposed to $19,500.
Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson said the allocation of $38.5Billion to his sector will see the continued development of roads, bridges and other infrastructure works across the country.
“We will get to be more impactful, this is a launch pad, there is money in there for the new river crossing, money in there for the commencement of Linden/Lethem road…there is money in there for all my projects…so I am absolutely elated,” Minister Patterson expressed.
Education Minister Dr. Nicolette Henry also expressed enthusiasm “at the possibilities of what can be done with what has been allocated to the various sectors in particular to the Education Sector; the Budget holds a lot of promise of what can be done and will be done in 2019.”
The allocation of $52.2Billion to the sector, Minister Henry said will certainly address many of the priority areas in the Education for the coming year.
An amount of $4Billion has been allocated for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes has noted the many projects that will be implemented and continued will ensure Guyana stays the course of coming on par with the other developed and developing countries.
Specifically, Minister Hughes commended Minister Jordan for the exemption of excise and Value Added Taxes on the importation of mobile phones with specially installed accessibility features to aid persons with disabilities.
“It means that the cost of a phone that has those features is less for the person that is disabled…imagine on these phones, you can be a visually impaired person walking down the road, it is connected to Google Maps and all the GPS mapping systems and it would be saying to you go four steps forward…those kinds of things,” Minister Hughes pointed out.
Also adding his voice to the discussion Member of Parliament, Hemraj Rajkumar said the Budget sets the foundation for first oil come 2020 and demonstrates the government’s efforts to continue development.
He noted, “it is a very comprehensive document, in fact, you can see that there is a lot of money spending on all sectors.”