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Govt spends GUY$4.5 billion not approved by House

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Thursday tabled a financial paper for GUY$4.5 billion that have been spent although those funds were not approved by the opposition-controlled National Assembly for this year’s budget.

 Government has already said that the Finance Minister has relied on rulings by the High Court and provisions of Guyana’s constitution to spend monies from the Contingency Fund.

The monies have been spent  from January to June 16, 2014.  

Consideration of the Statement Excesses is expected to be done when the National Assembly meets again.

Government has so far spent GUY$225 million on student loans for the University of Guyana for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Although the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), with their combined one-seat majority, did not approve monies for the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA) the Statement of Excesses shows that cash has been spent on those agencies.

For instance, GUY$66.4 million were spent on GINA to pay salaries and other costs, GUY$32.6 million  on employment costs for NCN , GUY$121 million for the Presidential Guard Service .

In relation to the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF),  GUY$303 million were spent on the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme and a subvention to the Bina Hill Institute. With regards to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) modernization programme,  GUY$824.8 million

The Statement also shows that GUY$29 million were spent by the Office of the President to pay contracted employees.

The government had lumped several contentious expenditures with those that would have evoked little or no controversy, resulting in the opposition not approving huge blocks of the budget.

Government has also expended GUY$4.9 million on the Office of the First Lady, GU$32.6 million on the Office for Commissioner for Information, GUY$59 million for the Institute of Applied Science and Technology, GUY$450.6 million for the construction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) sites for the E-Government Programme and GUY$424.3 million on Local Carbon Development Programmes such as the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), Amerindian Land Titling, Micro and Small Enterprise and a Trustee Admin Fee.