Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), a vibrant mining region, has received $1.4B, of which $1.18B covers current expenditure and $222M, capital expenditure. Under this budget, for the first time, an agricultural programme will be implemented with a provision of $33.4M.
During the consideration of the 2016 Budget Estimates this evening, the sums were cleared by the National Assembly. The region received $122.89M for regional administration and finance, $203.35M for public works, $741.4M for education delivery, and $302.09M for health services.
Opposition Member (MP) of Parliament, Pauline Sukhai, while complimenting the Government for implementing the agricultural programme, urged that indigenous youths be given preference with regards employment.
Opposition MP, Ganga Persaud expressed concern that no one has been assigned to supervise the programme’s implementation, but Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan noted that two agricultural officers from the Ministry of Agriculture currently based at Kato will be leading the programme in the interim.
Minister Bulkan noted that the programme is one that was developed by the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) to develop its agricultural potential.
The Minister explained that, “the budgetary allocation is to provide support to this programme to enable the cultivation of agricultural produce to reduce the amount of agricultural products that are brought into the region.”
With the $741.4M approved for education delivery, $36.61M will be utilised for the completion of the nursery school at Micobie, the construction of sanitary block and extension of the secondary school at Paramakatoi Secondary and dormitory, and the purchase of ATVs among other things.
In addition, a total of $21.55M will go towards purchasing furniture and school supplies for a number of schools in the region.
The sum of $302.09M was approved for health services in the region. There will be the purchase of an ambulance estimated to cost $12M, payment of retention and construction of living quarters at Kato and Kurububaru costing $29.8M. Further, $13.67M will go towards the purchase of computers, microscopes, oxygen tanks, filing cabinets, drip stands, ECG machines, screens, wheel chairs, stretchers, fans and air condition units for a number of health centres in the region.
Under this programme, a total of $741.4M was budgeted for and passed. Of that sum, $20.84M will go towards the construction of roads from Chenapou to Maikwak and Maikwak to Kamana. An amount of $11.25M will see the provision of a vehicle, tractor and trailer, while $18M will go towards the construction of a bridge at Itabac, and $15M for the construction of living quarters at Kato.