Georgetown: The Committee of Supply approved a total $2.2B for the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs today, when the National Assembly was resumed. The sum of $1,183,274 and $1,036,686 was approved in the 2018 National Budget, for capital expenditure and current expenditure respectively.
Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock defending the estimates for Capital Expenditure, stated that since the government assumed office, they have been working assiduously to include the hinterland regions, in the nation’s drive to ensure a ‘good life’.
Minister Allicock pointed out that, “The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) left the communities divided. We have started to bring people back together. We need to unify this nation. We need to bring people together. Unity in diversity is our belief.”
Some of the line items included in the budget estimates are as follows:
Current Expenditure ($1,036,686)
- Total Wages and Salaries 158,008,00
- Education subvention and training 215,179,00
- Rates, Taxes, and Subvention to local authorities 540
- Local Organ, International Organ & Constitutional Agencies $70,502,00
Capital Expenditure ($1,183,274)
- Buildings-$140,007,00 (completion of dormitory and extension of buildings)
- Amerindian Development Projects-$981,777,00 (provision for Amerindian development programme and projects)
- Land and water transport-$40,360,00 (purchase of vehicles, boats, and engines)
Minister Allicock explained that the administration has been working to have more cohesive hinterland-coastal relations.
The Opposition queried the figures for National Events that saw $210M spent in 2017, and $203M being requested in 2018. Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous people’s Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe explained there will be no Heritage pageant next year, nor will Guyana host the 2018 Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) Traditional Knowledge Meeting, hence the reduction of the figures.
To MP Irfan Alli’s question about the increase of $85,780M to $140,007M for infrastructure, Minister Allicock explained that covers the construction of a new dorm at Lilendall, the extension of the ministry’s head office located Thomas Street and Quamina, and extension of the hostel in Charlestown.
Opposition MP Allister Charlie queried the monies allocated for the line item ‘Other Good and Services Purchased’. In response, Minister Garrido Lowe stated it will be utilised for Consultations on the Amerindian Act and legal fees.
When asked about the $40,339,000M assigned to the Bina Hill Institute, Minister Allicock explained that “We need such institutions in the hinterland, for the hinterland is the heart of Guyana.”