Budget duplicates last year’s efforts on airstrip projects

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Budget duplicates last year’s efforts on airstrip projects

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Feb 13, 2009

http://www.kaieteurnews.com/2009/02/11/ ... -projects/

Budget duplicates last year’s efforts on airstrip projects
February 11, 2009 | By knews | Filed Under News
…project profile differs from Minister’s presentation
By Tusika Martin and Gary Eleazar

Parliamentarians are preparing to debate the 2009 Budget, which on Monday was presented under the theme, ‘Working together, reinforcing resilience’ in the National Assembly.

This year’s budget, however, includes several projects that were scheduled to be partially completed, and in some cases fully completed, last year.

These included the construction of two new airstrips at Wakenaam and Leguan.

Last year, $108M was allocated for these projects with the inclusion of the rehabilitation of the Baramita Airstrip.
However, in the 2009 budget, $184M has been allocated for the construction of the same airstrips with the inclusion of the rehabilitation of the Mahdia Airstrip and maintenance of domestic aerodromes.

The project profile contained in the Estimates of Capital and Current Accounts, however, stated that there were no expenditures prior to this year despite the budgetary allocation last year.

Whilst Dr. Singh told the National Assembly on Monday that $184M has been allocated for the projects, only $150M is in the budget estimates.

Dr. Singh also said that the country’s ability to predict weather patterns is expected to be bolstered by $247.7M allocated for the hydro-meteorological programme, of which $70M will be used to complete the installation of the Doppler radar system, and another $10.5M has been allocated for further specialised training required to effectively utilise the radar.

In the initial project, Guyana was scheduled to contribute $40M to the EU funded project.

However, an initial $20M was lost after the tower was contracted in the wrong location and had to be relocated.
Estimates of Capital and Current Accounts stated that the project is ongoing with a total spending of $523M prior to the current budget year.

The total cost for the project is $777.4M with the EU contributing $649M.

The EU will be giving $50M this year whilst central government will be contributing $20 million.

Infrastructure

As it relates to infrastructural support to encourage industrial development, Dr. Singh announced that a sum of $500M is allocated for the upgrading of the Belvedere industrial estate, the expansion of Eccles industrial estate, and the development of the Lethem industrial estate.

“These estates have the potential to accommodate a range of investments in areas such as food processing, furniture-making, canning and bottling, and garment manufacturing.

“Government will continue to work with existing and potential occupants of plots within these estates with a view to increasing occupancy and accelerating and expanding productive use of the plots allocated.”

Some $291M has been allocated to construct and expand market places in several coastal villages, which the Finance Minister said was aimed at supporting small businesses which has an important role to play in reducing poverty, generating incomes, improving livelihoods, and promoting entrepreneurship.

The Minister added that there is a continued bid to solicit private investment in alternative energy in the areas of biofuels, hydropower, and solar power.

He noted that in the area of biofuels, $60M has been given towards the identification and evaluation of viable investment opportunities, and “we will continue to work with investors interested in ethanol production to facilitate private investment in this sub-sector.”

Roads and bridges

He noted also that over $7B has been allocated for the improvement of the country’s roads and bridges network, with approximately $5B earmarked for roads and over $2B for bridges.

In the 2008, $6.2B was allocated for such works with $5B being spent on roads and $1.2B on bridges.
In the 2009 budget, a sum of $1.8B is allocated for the New Amsterdam to Moleson Creek Road, which will see the completion of 86 kilometres of roadway in Berbice and some $880M has been budgeted to complete the approach access roads to the Berbice River.

A further $749M has been allocated for works to the Demerara Harbour Bridge, to supplement funds previously allocated, for the acquisition of deck units and other components all aimed at improving the riding surface of the bridge and enhance its durability.

Some $1.7B has been allocated to rehabilitate and maintain urban, rural and hinterland roads across the country.
This, according to Dr Singh, ‘will ensure reduced travel time and increased access between farms and markets’.

He added also that some $125M is budgeted to complete the feasibility study towards the construction of a highway from Linden to Lethem.

“This is a major infrastructural project, and requires detailed and careful study…upon implementation this road would ensure easy accessibility to remote locations as well as reduce the cost of transportation of people and goods to and from the coastland and would redound to the benefit of all Guyanese.”

Air and River Transport

The Finance Minister told the National Assembly that Guyana Civil Aviation Authority will be the beneficiary of a sum of $30M to modernise the Air Traffic Control equipment while a further $120M has been allocated for an aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Money has been allocated for the maintenance of domestic aerodromes, to expand and enhance the facilities for faster domestic travel and ensure safety of all those using these facilities.

The sum of $396M was also budgeted to upgrade maritime infrastructure, which includes docking of ferry vessels M.B. Sandaka, M.T. Aruka and M.V. Makouria, dredging of rivers, acquisition of spares, and purchase of navigational aids.

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