Saying that the administration has empowered the people in Region Ten to build sustainable communities, government parliamentarian Audwin Rutherford on Monday told the National Assembly that the $3.9 billion proposed for the region in 2019 will ensure that the good life there continues.
The sum proposed represents a 12% increase over the 2018 allocation.
In making his contribution on the opening day of the debate of the government’s 2019 National Budget, Rutherford said that testimony to the empowerment of the people in the region is the fact that for 2018, 31 projects, which account for 80% of the jobs available, were given to the village council and lone Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NCD) in Kwakwani. He said, too, that 90% of building materials for house building were purchased from businesses in Linden.
Rutherford told the House that while the $51 million allocated in 2019 budget for an agriculture programme is not adequate, “it is a commendable start.” Included in this amount is $22 million for the purchase of furniture and equipment, settling up of a shade house and the upgrading of the trail at Millie’s Hideout, where farmers are struggling to get access.
He expressed certainty that with the necessary infrastructure and human resources the programme will be a success.
He also mentioned that at Ebini, a $220 million agriculture research facility will be built for nurseries, seed production and the breeding of cattle. A vehicle, a generator with a shed and a biogas digester will also be procured for use at Ebini.
Upgrading of the drainage system at Wismar, the construction of a bridge at Kara Kara and upgrading of roads in Linden are also catered for in the proposed 2019 allocation.
PPP/C MP Joseph Hamilton also spoke on the proposed budget on Monday and he asserted that $300 billion means nothing if the people do not get adequate services. “A big number means nothing because at the end of the day the people, they are not getting the necessary service,” he said.
“The budget lacks lubricant,” he remarked to an uproar among Members of Parliament. He added, “If there is no lubricant, there can be no stimulation. Therefore, the stimulation that is necessary and needed to stimulate businesses, to stimulate the economy so that we can process the measures, are not in the budget.”
Hamilton also criticised Finance Minister Winston Jordan for failing to address corruption. “The minister… avoided like the plague to deal with the corruption…the mismanagement of public funds…the fraud identified…the waste identified by the Auditor General in his report,” he said.