Per­va­sive cor­rup­tion re­spon­si­ble for failed Bud­get im­ple­men­ta­tion

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Pres­i­dent Bhar­rat Jagdeo be­lieves t hat Govern­ment would not be able to im­ple­ment 60 per cent of the 2017 Bud­get as it re­lates to its Pub­lic Sec­tor In­vest­ment Pro­gramme (PSIP) – a far cry from the 90 per cent im­ple­men­ta­tion rate achieved by the for­mer Ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party/ Civic.

Jagdeo this past week weighed in on the cur­rent bud­get prepa­ra­tions by the Fi­nance Min­istry ahead of its early pre­sen­ta­tion for a third year.

He, how­ever, crit­i­cised the abysmal im­ple­men­ta­tion rate and blamed what he called the per­va­sive cor­rup­tion be­ing prac­tised by the Ad­min­is­tra­tion as one of the key rea­sons be­hind the fail­ure to ex­pend an­nual al­lo­ca­tions.

Jagdeo was at the time speak­ing with mem­bers of the lo­cal me­dia corps at his Church Street of­fice.

The Rus­sian t r ained econ­o­mist, who served as Fi­nance Min­is­ter and later Pres­i­dent from 1999 to 2011, opined that the pur­pose of an an­nual Bud­get is to en­hance the wel­fare of the cit­i­zenry of the coun­try and to ex­pand op­por­tu­nity and sup­port the cre­ation of wealth at every level.

Based on these cri­te­ria, Jagdeo said: “This (2017) bud­get has failed mis­er­ably….it has done none of these things.”

Ac­cord­ing to the for­mer Pres­i­dent, now Op­po­si­tion Leader, the lack of im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 2017 Bud­get de­spite its early pre­sen­ta­tion in 2016 was just a symp­tom of the con­fu­sion that ex­ist in Govern­ment. “This char­la­tan un­der­stand­ing of how these projects work seems to per­me­ate the en­tire Govern­ment at the po­lit­i­cal level and sec­ondly, their fre­quent in­ter­fer­ence in ten­der­ing process,” Jagdeo posited.

Speak­ing to the per­va­sive cor­rup­tion un­der the David Granger Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Jagdeo pointed to the award of con­tracts. Ac­cord­ing to the Op­po­si­tion Leader, when an eval­u­a­tion of a ten­der is re­turned, the Ad­min­is­tra­tion sim­ply re­tenders the project if the de­sired out­come is not achieved.

The for­mer Pres­i­dent pointed to the fact that us­ing in­ter­na­tional loans through var­i­ous fund­ing agen­cies, t he process can t ake as much as six to eight months.

Jagdeo noted that as a re­sult of the fre­quent re­tender­ing of projects be­ing funded from the trea­sury, the Ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­her­ently and con­sis­tently de­layed the util­i­sa­tion of the al­lo­cated funds which at the end of the year re­sults in woe­fully in­ad­e­quate im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Pub­lic Sec­tor In­vest­ment Pro­gramme. “They have can­celled every time they don’t get a par­tic­u­lar out­come; they have can­celled to ten­ders,” Jagdeo said.

He cited a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar con­tract which has been re­peat­edly re­tendered for the Guyana Power and Light Inc.

Jagdeo, in seek­ing to fur­ther il­lus­trate his point of favoured bid­ders be­ing the pref­er­ence of the Ad­min­is­tra­tion, pointed to the fact that of the $4.8 mil­lion spent on drugs this past year, the ma­jor­ity $4.4 bil­lion went to hand­picked sup­pli­ers as against us­ing the pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion process, which was used by the PPP/ Civic Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Jagdeo, the process of cherry pick­ing “who you want the con­tracts go to,” will, and has been, ad­versely af­fect­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the PSIP.

He sug­gested that Govern­ment may not even achieve a 60 per cent im­ple­men­ta­tion rate for the funds al­lo­cated for 2017 as against the 90 per cent im­ple­men­ta­tion rate that was achieved by the PPP/C in of­fice. “This is prob­lem­atic,” Jagdeo de­clared.

The abysmal fail­ure on the part of the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to fully ex­e­cute its pro­grammes was re­cently l aid bare when Fi­nance Min­is­ter Win­ston Jor­dan pre­sented the mid-year re­port on na­tional spend­ing and rev­enues earned.

Ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter Jor­dan in that re­port, “not­with­stand­ing the his­tor­i­cally early bud­get, the re­quired shift in plan­ning cy­cles at the sec­toral lev­els failed to keep pace and, though the Pub­lic Sec­tor In­vest­ment Pro­gramme (PSIP) recorded higher lev­els of ex­pen­di­ture at the mid-year than at the sim­i­lar pe­riod in 2016, spend­ing was less than onethird of the bud­geted al­lo­ca­tion.”

He had an­nounced in­ter­ven­tions to sup­port sec­toral and project spe­cific bot­tle­necks were un­der­way, even “as we grap­ple with the re­cent spate of se­cu­rity breaches that has re­sulted in ad­di­tional fis­cal and other pres­sures”.

Jor­dan had promised that a com­bi­na­tion of tar­geted in­ter­ven­tions to ad­dress the slug­gish pace of spend­ing in the PSIP, cou­pled with pri­ori­tised sec­tor-spe­cific en­gage­ments with the Pri­vate Sec­tor, is ex­pected to re­sult in more sys­temic and struc­tural re­forms that would pro­mote di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and green ini­tia­tives so crit­i­cal to de­liv­er­ing the good life to all Guyanese. (Guyana Times)

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