$740M spent for urgent drainage works approved in National Assembly

Over $740 million which was expended through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to conduct urgent drainage works in several regions across Guyana was approved by the National Assembly on Monday.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the money was spent on critical works including the rehabilitation of drainage channels, access bridges, revetments and dams, as well as the installation of stainless-steel sluice doors.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha during Monday’s sitting of the National Assembly

The funds exhausted are part of the $2.9 billion advances from the contingency fund for consideration in the National Assembly.

From the grand total, about $260 million was spent in Region Three, $115 million in Region Four and $153 million in Region Five.

To advance NDIA works in Regions Six and Seven another $121 million and $89 million were expended respectively. 

The agriculture minister disclosed that the works had to be considered and addressed urgently, given the major expansion in the agriculture sector since the PPP/C Administration took office on August 2, 2020.

“You have the rehabilitation of canals sluice doors because many of the doors were not repaired during that period… only recently we had to replace the sluice door at Cowan Street. We replaced the Providence one and the Sussex Street one. The repairs were not done at the time it was scheduled,” he explained to the House.

With the major rehabilitation projects undertaken, the minister said the thriving agriculture sector has seen more farmers coming on board, and more produce being exported to foreign countries, specifically the Eastern Caribbean.

Importantly, the minister explained that the award of contracts followed the correct procedure.

“These were public contracts that were published and awarded through the National Procurement and Tender Administration or the tender board of NDIA. It was published in the press and bid by contractors and the most suitable and responsive bidder received,” he said.

Since assuming office, the administration has been keen on ensuring the nation’s drainage and irrigation systems, among other important agriculture features are addressed to ensure proper flow of water in communities.

The government has announced too that a portion of the oil funds will be used to strengthen Guyana’s water system, as the administration takes an aggressive approach to addressing issues which have been around for decades.