Gov’t seeking $3B in supplementary funds

-includes $171M request for GDF prison break operations

For the third time this year, government is seeking supplementary financing – this time around $3 billion – and the requests this time around include $171 million for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) for its involvement in several security operations and $100 million for consultancies on border matters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Financial Paper No.3 of 2017 is seeking $519.9 million in current estimates and $2.45 billion in capital estimates.

The supplementary request for the GDF underlines the additional cost to the country from the Camp Street prison break on July 9.  The GDF is seeking the $171 million to cover additional office equipment, vehicle spares, maintenance cost, transportation and for the maintaining of equipment such as stoves and generators. The sum requested will also cover rental of tents, chairs and the purchase of other necessities.

With stepped up activity on the border controversy with Venezuela, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking an extra $100 million for consultancy services. The earlier voted provision was $200 million.

And for the third time this year the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) is seeking approval for the release of additional funds. The Ministry had received $6 billion in supplemental financing in July and $520 million in August.

As part of the $2.9 billion request in the third financial paper, MPI is requesting $986,962,271 in additional financing. The paper which was laid in Parliament on Thursday identifies the additional expenses as spending for dredging, highways and the reconditioning of Ferry Vessels.

Under dredging, $286,500,000 is being sought to purchase additional spares for the Maritime Administration Department’s fleet of vessels. Previously, $295,000,000 was allocated for this line item in the 2017 budget.

The East Coast Demerara Highway project is to receive an additional $130,000,000 to cater for cost escalation. This is the second supplementary allowance for this project; additional financing of $2,425,424,028 has already been approved for this line item originally budgeted at $1.4 billion.  The cost escalation is likely to see intense questioning in Parliament when the paper comes up for consideration.

The ministry is also seeking $193,212,171 in additional inflows for the West Demerara Highway project and counterpart resources under Caribbean Development Bank loan operation 7/SFR-OR-GUY. This request, according to the financial paper, is to facilitate payments under the Fourth Road project, which was originally allocated $2,335,000,000 and received supplemental financing of $101,000,000.

Finally, the ministry is seeking $377,250,100 for additional resources to facilitate rehabilitation works on the M.V. Kimbia ($177 million) and to purchase additional spare parts for the fleet of ferries ($200 million) including for the purchase of air filters, injectors, auxiliary pumps, and other critical spares. Previous supplementary provisions catered for additional cost for the rehabilitation of the MV Sandaka ($100 million) and final payment for the rehabilitation of MV Lady Northcote ($75 million). The original allocation in the 2017 Budget was $240,000,000.

In 2016, MPI also received supplementary financing in the amount of $7.069 billion. While the Ministry of Finance credited this financing with assisting in the strong performance of domestically financed projects, the Auditor General in his 2016 Report took note of the financing sought in a less favourable light.

According to the report, “it should be noted that despite the Ministry of Public Infrastructure receiving Supplementary Allotments of $7.069 billion there were unspent balances of $7.798 billion. Included in this shortfall were amounts totalling US$7.228M equivalent to $1.493 billion which relates to Foreign Funded Projects.”

It later explained that the supplementary allotments totaling $7.069 billion were received mainly for: purchase of equipment; reconditioning of ferry vessels; the CJIA Modernisation Project; Urban Roads/Drainage; Hinterland/Coastal Airstrips; and highway improvement on the East Bank Demerara.

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