…REO promises to accelerate work programme this year
IN his budget presentation to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) at February’s statutory meeting, Regional Executive Officer Orrin Gordon, revealed that for 2018, the region expended 99 per cent of the budgetary allocation across the four programmes:
Education, Health, Public Works and Administration. This however, does not exclude the fact that there have been hiccups along the way and because the RDC has learnt its lesson, he foresees 2019 to be a year, where the residents of Region 10 will see value for their money.
Despite experiencing human resource inadequacies, particularly in the works department, Gordon said that the RDC did perform remarkably well. Figures show that for administration $211,191,887 was expended; for public works –$221,496,945; for education – $215,852,000 and health saw $577,009,929. These in totality, represent spending of over 99 per cent in each individual programme. The total budget for 2018 was $3.4B. Gordon also noted that 95 per cent of projects executed under maintenance and capital projects totalling $830M, were awarded to contractors based in Region 10.
Region 10’s budget allocation for 2019 is $3.9B; this represents an increase of over $500M. While the RDC has already established its capital budget for all projects for 2019, there are 38 roll-over projects from 2018. These projects include the consultancy for the construction of the Bamia Nursery and Primary Schools. The RDC is looking at 100 per cent expenditure in 2019 and is putting systems in place to fill the loop holes which blocked the expediency of projects in 2018. This includes utilising auditor services to push the time line and improve the general output at the RDC, the filling of pertinent vacancies and the utilisation of the regional tender board.
“We have learnt our lessons in 2018 and therefore it is incumbent on us to execute very early, hence it would have been seen that tenders were out for at least 35 projects, 20 being capital – and these are expected to be awarded by the end of February. That means we are in a better position than we were in last year, when our first award was made in April and having made your first award in April, it meant that you were playing catch up all the time, we are now having a chance to execute better because we are starting earlier and there should be no reason why we shouldn’t complete our capital projects before the end of the first half,” REO Gordon said.
Some of the capital works Region 10 will benefit from in 2019 include the construction of two new schools; land and water transport for the health sector, including a refrigerator truck, furniture and equipment for schools, the upgrade of the Upper Demerara Hospital etc.
Since the main concern of residents is roads, several roads are on the budget to be completed this year. These include Victory Valley access road, the second half of Main Street, Kara Kara access road etc.
Attention will not only be given to Linden, as 14 capital projects will be completed in the riverine communities especially down the Berbice River.
Agriculture is a new programme head that is added to the RDC and $22.7M has been allocated. Priority will be given to the establishment of shade houses, seven of which will be established in secondary schools. The main objective is to increase agricultural production and output within the communities. “There is much work to be done, by the first half we should be able to complete what we want to complete and the organisation, though still struggling with technical staff, we will really have to push ourselves,” REO Gordon said.