FINANCE Minister Mr Winston Jordan has announced that major road works, upgrades to sea defence structures and transport facilities are among the major infrastructural upgrades to be undertaken in 2015.
The budget he has presented under the theme “A Fresh Start, the Good life in a Green Economy” was described as a “people-oriented one” as it promises a good life for all Guyanese.
Minister Jordan announced that approximately $1.6 billion has been budgeted for upgrade of the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue Road, making it a modern thoroughfare for Georgetown.
This upgrade will create an improved road linkage between the East Coast and East Bank Demerara.
Further, a total of $1.2 billion has been budgeted for completion of that part of the East Bank Demerara Highway that provides improved transit from Providence to Great Diamond.
“The Government also intends to create a bypass road linking Diamond, East Bank Demerara to Ogle, on the East Coast Demerara. The new road will open up unutilised lands to support a modern housing scheme for 1,100 households, while creating new jobs for Guyanese as well as establish(ing) a more efficient link between the country’s two international airports,” Minister Jordan said.
The Finance Minister said that, in order to link the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue urban development to peri-urban communities, the Government will be investing $387 million this year to upgrade the Sophia “Ring Road”.
Rural development will also materialise through investments of $544 million to upgrade community roads and bridges in the 10 administrative regions.
Similarly, a provision of $1.2 billion has been made to upgrade more than 28 km of farm-to-market access roads and bridges located in Laluni, Onverwagt, Parika and the Ruby Backdam.
Jordan also announced that Government will be seeking to construct a road linking Parika and Goshen and providing an alternative access route to Bartica. That aside, Government will construct all-weather roads in Regions 7 and 9, to open new opportunities “to exploit our natural resources”; and will “upgrade internal roads in the proposed new towns of Bartica, Mahdia and Mabaruma”.
It was further announced that $417 million has been allocated towards air and river transport, so as to better link the hinterland regions with urban and rural centres, to create both direct and indirect jobs for Guyanese while helping to promote eco-tourism within these regions in order to empower the indigenous people.
Further, the Minister announced that, in this regard, the Government will improve air service delivery through the rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips and aerodromes, and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
The Ministry of the Presidency has also said that the Minister announced that a sum of $644 million has been allocated for dredging the Demerara and Essequibo rivers; docking the MV Sandaka, MV Barima, and MV Kimbia; acquiring spares; and rehabilitating stellings at Georgetown, Parika, Leguan and Bartica.
In relation to climate change and Guyana’s susceptibility, Jordan said that Government, recognising the importance of the medium- and long-term need for adequate investments in coastal zone protection infrastructure and systems, has allocated $1.4 billion to strengthen sea and river defence infrastructure, with critical works taking place in Regions 2 to 7.
In addition, $5.7 billion has been allocated to rehabilitation and extension of the capacity of drainage and irrigation infrastructure countrywide, including the Northern Relief Channel.