House approves $3.3B supplementary budget

The National Assembly yesterday approved $3.3 billion in extra budgetary allocations, including $35M to support the establishment of a multi-faith religious television station.

Dr Ashni Singh piloted Supplementary Appropriation (No.3 for 2011) Bill 2011 through the House, in what was the final session before the Ninth Parliament was dissolved. Yesterday’s sitting was boycotted by the parliamentary opposition, which refused to participate in the parliamentary sessions extended by government.

The Bill combined Financial Papers No. 5 and No. 6 of 2011. Financial Paper No.5/ 2011 covers $1,366,973,851 in advances from the Contingencies Fund for the period 31st August, 2011 to 14th September, 2011, while Financial Paper No.6 covers $1,951,698,983 in supplementary provisions for the rest of the year. Current estimates totaled $1,605,000,000 while capital estimates totaled $346,698,983.

According to Financial Paper No. 5, some $343M was advanced to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies for the implementation of new services and improvement of treatment regime for patients. A further $993,229,521 was spent by the Health Ministry for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies for the Lethem, Mabaruma and Bartica Hospitals affected by malaria as well as for six health centres. The money was also spent on laboratory reagents and supplies. A further $4,873,330 was for emergency repairs to schools in Region 4, while some $25,871,000 was for the Ministry of Agriculture for expenditure associated with Phase 2 of the Grow More Campaign.

Financial Paper No. 6 included some $1.2 B in electricity charges for the Finance Ministry. This is provision for the payment of additional electricity charges. A further $350M has been identified as an additional allocation for the Drainage and Irrigation Board and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute. A total of $35M was allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport for the establishment of the multi-faith religious television station in addition to the $2,520,000 originally voted. $20M in supplementary provision was also granted to the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security to support programmes for differently-abled persons.

For capital expenditure, $600,000 was provided for the acquisition and installation of a new telephone system, while $25,098,983 was granted to the Parliament Office for the closure of a project; $53M has been set aside for the Conservancy Adaptation Project; and $68M to the Public Works Ministry for rehabilitation of roads in Leguan. A further $150M has been identified for additional funds to facilitate the construction of a new access road to Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.

Just earlier this month, Singh sought and was granted $2.6B in extra provisions.

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