[Guyana] Four new aircraft for GDF
- ...as govt seeks $4.5B in supplementary funds
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested $788,049,000 from the Ministry of Finance to meet the estimated costs associated with lawyers representing Guyana at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the Guyana-Venezuela b order controversy case.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Thursday tabled financial paper No. 2 of 2018 which totals $4,526,563,240 representing supplementary estimates for current and capital expenditure.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had received some $300,000,000 as part of its voted provisions. On Thursday, subject Minister Carl Greenidge told Guyana Chronicle that the requested sums will cover the cost of retaining lawyers to do whatever needs to be done during the course of this year.
“We don’t know exactly how much it will cost because we don’t know the court process will unfold. It depends in part on what the court requires. They may look at it and decide to do a number of things…we may have to get someone else to supplement the information. So it is a little difficult to say what will be required that’s why it is an estimate.”
He said it is possible that the amount requested is less or more than is required. “It is very much dependent on what the court does and how the case unfolds,” Greenidge explained. Guyana has thus far recruited three firms to assist in its ICJ case. It is possible that other firms will be recruited in the future. Some US$15M of the US$18M of signing bonus received from US oil giant ExxonMobil in 2016 will be used to pay for services relative to Guyana-Venezuela controversy which has been placed before the ICJ. Government has said that the signing bonus would at some point be transferred to the Consolidated Fund after which government would have to make applications to the National Assembly for its approval of the identified sums to pay persons for their services.
The Finance Minister recently announced that the US$18M signing bonus remains in the Bank of Guyana but has been invested in the U.S. treasury bills and Canadian bonds where it is accumulating interest. Jordan told reporters that while the money has not been used, it has already accumulated US$ 36,169 in interest. “I have the latest statement from the Bank of Guyana and it says that the account has a balance of US$18,036,169,” he stated at his Ministry’s boardroom.
“All US$18 million is still in the account plus the interest of course. During 2018, since we did not know when the United Nations Secretary-General would make his decision, we did not put any amounts in the budget. So now, what we will have to do is go for supplementary. This supplementary will be based on Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ indication as to how much they think we will have to pay the lawyers and others who provide services related to the ICJ matter,” explained Jordan.
Additionally, the Guyana Defence Force has requested a total of $484, 239, 000 for the acquisition of four aircraft. Under the Agency Head of Defence and Security Support, it is explained that the GDF has already identified financing to the tune of $213, 885,000 from within its 2018 capital programme to meet the initial payments for the acquisition of the four aircraft. The additional sums are now requested to facilitate the final payment for the aircraft.
Some $600,000,000 in supplementary funds are also being requested for the Ministry of Agriculture to offset increased expenditure for the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) arising from the transfer of drainage and irrigation responsibilities previously undertaken by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO). Under Capital Estimates, the said ministry has requested $226, 161, 235 to obtain additional resources to facilitate the procurement of six long boom excavators and four mini excavators along with spare parts emanating from the legal matter between Guyana Tractor and Equipment and NDIA. Some $1, 402, 098, 000 was the voted provision for the department. Further, $346,500,000 is being sought by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for additional resources to facilitate the purchase and installation of two additional boarding bridges for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project. Some $5, 000,000,000 was voted for that project previously.
The Ministry of Social Protection has requested $81, 614, 005 for the construction of a concrete fence of perimeter 4,338 feet at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) to address security breaches. The total current estimates sought stands at $1,388, 049,000 while the capital estimates stand at $138, 514, 240. It is unclear when the supplementary financial paper will be discussed in the House.