Several regions’ budgets were today approved by the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly. With the approved sum of $6.1B, Region Six, East Berbice Corentyne, will benefit from improved infrastructure in the areas of roads, bridges, agriculture, health care delivery and educational facilities.
The allocated sum will be spent on:
- Regional Administration and Finance – $169M
- Agriculture -$823M
- Infrastructure – $414M
- Education delivery-$2.882M
- Health services -$1.809M
Under infrastructure, several roads, bridges and government buildings will be rehabilitated, constructed and maintained. Bridges including the Vibert Bridge, East Bank Berbice (EBB), Calber Bridge, and New Vigilante among others will be repaired while a heavy-duty bridge at Whim and a foot-path bridge at Chesney, Albion will be constructed to benefit the residents in those areas.
Several roads in New Amsterdam, East Bank Berbice and Belmont among other areas across the region will be rehabilitated and constructed into concrete and asphaltic roads.
For agriculture, drainage and irrigation works will be carried out including backfilling, and repairs to revetments, and excavators. Some of the funds allocated for agriculture will also go towards providing lubricants for excavators and mini excavators and fuel for drainage and irrigation pumps among others.
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Zulfikar Mustapha then questioned the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan as to whether the excavators are operational and what measures will be put in place to deter pilfering of fuel.
Minister Bulkan responded that all the excavators catered for are operational and pilfering is not considered a major issue for the region since, currently fuel is being transported by boat and is being monitored by an officer and routine checks are made periodically.
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP),Dr Vishwa Mahadeo asked the Communities Minister how much from the budgeted $385M in 2016 was spent on drugs and medical supplies. Minister Bulkan in response said that approximately $60M was spent for the acquisition of all medical supplies except oxygen gas for the New Amsterdam Hospital. The oxygen was purchased through the Ministry of Health. The remainder of the money was given to the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) and Caribbean Meditron among other agencies.
In a follow-up question, Dr. Mahadeo noted that the $385M that was budgeted last year still saw many instances of drug shortages and supplies in the region and asked whether the $400M budgeted in 2017 would be adequate to provide drugs and supplies. To this, Minister Bulkan responded that there may have been few instances of drug shortages but the $400M allocated is anticipated to meet the pharmaceutical needs.
Additionally, Minister Bulkan revealed that works will be carried on the New Amsterdam, Skeldon and Siparuta Hospitals in 2017.
Meanwhile, several schools and hostels will be rehabilitated in the new year while several teachers are expected to benefit from training to improve competence and enhance their teaching methodology.
Special needs school for Schnoonard
Funding for a school to serve children in Region Three with learning and attention disabilities has been approved by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly passed a $5.050Billion Budget for Region Three for 2017 this morning. Under the Region’s 2017 spending is an allocation of $155.700Million for the provision of building, schools, sanitary blocks, quarters, ramps and revetment and gas lines.
Specifically under this allocation is the provision of $30 Million for the construction and equipment of a special needs school at Schnoonard, according to Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan.
Minister Bulkan, who also provided a breakdown of the remaining projects covered under the $155.700 Million allocation, explained that $35 Million will cover the completion of the Region’s Department of Education building at Plantain Walk, whilst $20 Million will cater for the construction of a cold storage at the Region’s Department of Education compound at Plantain Walk.
Minister Bulkan explained that construction of the cold storage will ensure adequate storage of the juices for the Region’s schools that is supplied under the Ministry of Education’s School Feeding Programme.
Of the remaining $155.700 Million, Minister Bulkan explained, $5Millionwill go towards the construction of a sanitary block at Vreed-en-Hoop, $2 Million covers the construction of boat house at Parika; and $ 6Million each is allotted for the provision of ramps and revetments at Northern Hogg Island and Upper Bonasika primary schools respectively.
The construction of sanitary blocks will be done at Nooitgedacht Nursery, at a cost of $1.5Million, at San Souci, $4 Million, and at Hague, $1Million.
The construction and enclosure of living quarters at Great Troolie, to cater for teachers from the coast is funded under a provision of $4Million. The construction of Headmaster’s quarters at Northern Hogg Island, Caria Caria, Upper Bonasika and Western Hogg Island Primary will be covered under a cost of $10 Million, $9 Million, $9 Million and $9 Million, respectively.
Meanwhile the construction of gas lines at the science laboratory at the Patentia Secondary will be funded under a budgeted sum of $2Million. Similar activities at the Essequibo Island Secondary in Wakenaam are covered under a budgeted sum of $2.2Million.
Government has been working to ensure an inclusive education sector that allows every child in Guyana the opportunity to be educated. The provision of access to appropriate educational facilities is part of Government’s effort to ensure that those children, with special needs are part of this inclusivity.