Parliament to debate approval of $10B flood intervention on Monday

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Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh on Thursday tabled in the National Assembly two supplementary financial papers, seeking monies to bolster the Civil Defence Commission’s (CDC’s) flood response and to support a number of critical government initiatives.

While the papers were tabled on Thursday, they will not be debated and approved until the National Assembly is convened again on Monday, June 14, 2021, to consider the urgent spending.

Among the monies being sought by the government is a $10 billion request for flood-related interventions. It also includes important housing and security initiatives for which supplementary appropriations are required.

In brief comments to the News Room on Thursday, Dr. Singh said while there has already been an immediate response to the countrywide crisis, additional funding has become urgent.

The funds will, in the first instance, support the continued efforts of removing floodwater from the land in several regions. “That will require additional cost,” Dr. Singh asserted.

He explained that the deployment of additional equipment, such as pumps, will need to be sustained over the next few weeks. According to Minister Singh, coupled with those physical efforts to address the flood water on the land, there is also a simultaneous urgent need to ensure that relief gets to those affected citizens.

“In many communities there is no access to food, markets, cleaning supplies… that is a tremendous cost as well,” he added.

Dr. Singh explained that special help will need to be given to farmers and people involved in the productive sector “to get them back on their feet.”

But the government’s work is not limited to the immediate response; it also includes the recovery and repair of the country’s damaged public infrastructure.

“Quite a few dams and bridges and roads have been washed way,” Dr. Singh told the News Room.

Battered by persistent rainfall over the last two weeks, all the regions of Guyana have been affected by flooding. While the water has receded in some regions, farmlands and residential areas in Region #6 #10 and several hinterland areas, remain inundated and severely affected.

The financial papers also address a number of critical initiatives, which include monies to facilitate the payment of vaccines, motorcycles for anti-crime patrols by the Guyana Police Force and monies for the advance payment of an Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Guyana Defence Force.

There is also a request for monies to allow for additional resources to support anti-narcotics operations.

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