$3B more for Amerindian development as gov’t honours Toshaos requests
─ Money will be equitably allocated – Minister Sukhai
The National Assembly, on Monday, approved the sum of $3 billion to further improve the lives and livelihood of the indigenous peoples in hinterland and remote communities.
The supplementary fund was a commitment made to Amerindian leaders by President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali during the recent National Toshaos Conference (NTC).
The President, on July 13, engaged the leaders and encouraged them to identify core issues and formulate plans to be implemented to improve their lives.
Additionally, ministers of government were tasked with assisting the hinterland and riverine communities in streamlining their plans for development in their communities.
Also, the President has established a monitoring and evaluating team that is responsible for ensuring that hinterland projects are properly executed while at the same time making sure that government services are accessible.
Of the $3 billion, $250 million will be invested in programmes and initiatives to support youth empowerment.
Defending the sum, Amerindian Affairs Minister, Pauline Sukhai explained that a master plan to bring more development opportunities to Amerindian communities was derived from the NTC meeting which the massive allocation will greatly complement.
“Every community and village will be afforded the additional financial resources from this allocation, currently we are working to ensure that the villages will identify from among the lists in the master plan of action their immediate priorities,” she said.
According to her, every hinterland community will benefit as government will ensure the money is equitability distributed.
She added that the money will be expended on a number of prioritised issues including agriculture and food security, women’s affairs, youth and children, facilities, services, infrastructure, and eco-tourism.
“I wish to say that every community will be equitability addressed in terms of their developmental intervention necessary and a number of priorities and more or less, like a long list of requests were generated towards ensuring that the plan of action manifest itself in stimulating development, employment and increase of income,” Minister Sukhai said.
While speaking about agriculture, minister Sukhai said government is prioritising the national effort of food security and the building of a strong agriculture sector.
She said government’s focus will be on agro-processing and marketing of agricultural produce in the hinterland regions.
The minister said the significant intervention shows the commitment of the PPP/C Administration to ensure developments on the Coast and hinterland regions.
“Our government demonstrates very willingly that we’re an engaging government, that we consult and that we do not dictate to the amerindian village council and its people and therefore as partners, we are going to ensure first, and foremost that every community across the spectrum of our country is addressed, and that their development interventions that is critical to moving their community forward, to benefit from the $3 billion, will be adequately addressed,” she pointed out.
Over the past two years, the PPP/C government has invested over $50 billion in hinterland and riverine communities to push developmental activities. On August 8, Government approached the National Assembly for a supplementary allocation of more than $44.8 billion to continue its transformational agenda in sectors including health, agriculture, infrastructure, housing, and human resource development.