The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is in line to receive $16 billion while an additional $1 billion has been set aside under the Flood Risk Management Project, under which some 400,000 residents are expected to benefit as Government seeks to mitigate flooding in the country.
As the Committee of Supply considered the budget today for the Agriculture Ministry, the Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha disclosed that of the $16B budgeted for NDIA, $10B will be used to maintain a number of irrigation systems including pump stations and sluices across the country.
“You know for a fact we have purchased a number of pumps and we are now building a number of sluices to complement or put pumps to those sluices to complement those pumps,” the Agriculture Minister said in response to a question posed by the Opposition MP Khemraj Ramjattan.
According to the Minister, 12 pumps that were purchased under the last government are now inoperable and have to be replaced.
“We are also trying to get the replacements of those pumps that were purchased by the APNU+AFC Government – the 12 pumps – so that we can replace those pumps. Those pumps are inoperable. So, all those issues we are trying to deal with,” Minister Mustapha said as he defended the budgeted sum.
But when asked about the additional $6B budgeted for NDIA under the Ministry’s Capital Programme, Minister Mustapha said that too will cater for the completion of some 12 pump stations among other projects.
“…Last year we started the construction of 12 pumps – $4.3B is allocated to this project because these projects are roll over projects, 18 months project. So, you have $4.3B allocated for the roll over sum of this project,” he said.
He disclosed too that eight additional pumps will be built, including on the East Bank of Demerara, a first for the country.
Additionally, the Government has budgeted $1B to facilitate the Flood Risk Management Project. The project, which received $1.2B in 2022, is designed to improve drainage and irrigation systems across the country.
“Four hundred thousand residents will be benefiting from this project along the East Coast including Ogle,” the Agriculture Minister disclosed in response to a request by Opposition MP Vinceroy Jordan for a disaggregation of the sum.
Pressed for greater details, he told the Committee of Supply that the allocation will also provide for the acquisition of excavators to aid in the maintenance of East Demerara Water Conservancy.
Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha told the Committee that of the $2B budgeted for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) under Agriculture Development and Support Services, the Albion Sugar Estate will receive the lion’s share to the tune of $1B.
Of the remaining $1B, the Blairmont Sugar Estate will receive $600,000 while Uitvlugt Sugar Estate will receive $400,000. The subvention would be used to purchase fuel and lubricant, offset wages and salaries, and attend to other recurrent expenses.
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