Government saw the need to approve for itself more than $350 million in a supplementary budgetary provision two Thursdays ago to spend on Government outreaches because of what it saw as a need to “listen” to people and get their advice, Joseph Harmon, Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency said Friday.
Supplementary budget estimates usually cover emergency or unforeseen spending.
The Government Parliamentarians voted and approved $800 million under the Ministry of Finance to cover payments to Trinidad engineering company Dipcon and for Government outreaches. Dipcon has to be paid US$2.2 million.
Harmon said that the Government has been undertaking a flurry of outreaches recently because of feedback from outreaches in previous years. He said that the Government recognised that people needed to see the Government more and wanted to be in touch with ministers.
The opposition has heavily criticised the outreaches to various regions as propaganda exercises designed by the Government to boost its chances at imminent general elections.
But Harmon said that the outreaches are an approach to “listen” to the people and get their feedback on the work Government is doing and to garner their “advice”.
He said it was also a way to taking government services to the people, changing the perception where Government is centrally directed and the people are on the periphery.