Forum to improve visibility of RDCs to come on stream in 2017- Minister Bulkan
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan during a press conference today at the Parliament Buildings restated his ministry’s commitment to respecting the autonomy and role of the regional administrations.
The Minister boasted that at every opportunity Government has stated the importance of building local democracy and the local government system.
Turning his attention to his ministry’s budgetary allocation for 2017, Minister Bulkan said the sum has been increased by some $2B with only regions 2, 6 and 10 receiving a marginal reduction in their funds. He expressed his “fervent hope” that the respective agencies and the ministry learn from the challenges faced this year.
He pointed out that regional authorities now have a full 12 months to execute their projects, owing to the fact that the 2017 National Budget was presented early. He stressed the need for harmonious and not adversarial relations between the political and administrative elements.
Meantime, the Minister announced that an annual forum dubbed the National Regional Development Consultative Committee would be launched in 2017. This will see the gathering of all the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) with a focus on financial planning and management. The respective RDCs would be afforded the opportunity to report on projects conducted the previous years and those to be conducted in the year ahead.
Minister Bulkan expects that this would increase the visibility and give greater recognition to RDCs consistent with regional empowerment and give key stakeholders the opportunity to participate in this process.
Plans are afoot to move towards a situation where regions are known by names and not numbers, since according to the Minister of Communities, there is little or no emotional attachment to numbers.
While the Chairmen for Regions 7 and 10 have expressed happiness with their budgetary allocations and timeliness of the budget, Region 9 Chairman Brian Allicock expressed displeasure, since his region received a lower allocation.
Allicock said given the fact that Region 9 is the largest in the country more funds should have been allocated, nevertheless he committed to working within that bracket to ensure the region is on par with the others and the Ministry’s vision.
He did express contentment with the allocation for Agriculture, noting that special interest would be placed on shade house farming with students being trained in an effort to take that knowledge into their respective communities.