$37.5B expended on Public Infrastructure in 2019
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Workers compacting concrete just beyond Port Kaituma Police Station back in 2019 (DPI photo)
Workers compacting concrete just beyond Port Kaituma Police Station back in 2019 (DPI photo)

MEETING its budget almost exactly, the Government of Guyana expended $37.5B of a $38.5B budget on public infrastructure in 2019 catering to the areas of roads and bridges, air and water transport and sea and river defence.

This was revealed in the recently released End of Year Outcome 2019 report by the Ministry of Finance on the fiscal performance for the year. Of the $37.5B expended $10.8B accounted for current expenditure and $26.7 B was capital expenditure. In total it represents 12.5 per cent of the national budget.

From this total, $14.6B from a budgeted $16.3B were spent on roads and bridges. Projects which were completed include the feasibility study for the East Bank/East Coast Road Linkage project; the Better Hope/Annandale four lane highway and the two-lane Buxton-Belfield Road upgrade. Over $2B was spent under the hinterland roads programme, for the completion of the construction of Mahdia community internal roads and the rehabilitation of several roads such as the Port Kaituma main road to Fitzburg Housing Scheme; the Wainaina Bridge to Yarakita; the Barabina Swamp Road; and the Bartica/Potaro Road Mile 33 to Mile 52, among others.

2019 also saw the construction and upgrading of internal roads in the newly-established townships of Mabaruma and Lethem, the implementation the internal roads and drains programme in Bartica. Preparatory works to improve road linkages between the coast and hinterland continued to an advanced stage by the end of the year. These included the feasibility study for the Linden-Lethem Road Project; the studies and designs for the 72 km Linden-Soesdyke Highway at cost of $207 million; the studies for the reconstruction of the Wismar Bridge; and, the studies for the construction of the Kurupakari Bridge.

Meanwhile, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector window, continued their assessment of developing the New Demerara River Bridge using a Public-Private Partnership (P3) arrangement. The Finance Ministry noted too that progress was made on the Sheriff Street-Mandela Avenue Road Programme though it was slower-than-anticipated because of unfulfilled contractual obligations, while $2.2b was spent on the maintenance of roads, dams and trails.

When it comes to air and water transport, $1.8B from an allocation of $2.2B was spent to improve connectivity across Guyana. This sum catered to expansion works on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), which was approximately 90 per cent completed by the end of 2019. The additional work which took place included the construction of the North-East and South-West runways; the completion of the apron and taxiway; the completion of the new terminal building and rehabilitation of the existing building; the completion of the diesel generator room; and, the fire pump station.

Works also progressed the development of the Aviation Master Plan; a study to upgrade the Lethem aerodrome; the rehabilitation and construction of stellings at Bartica (Phase II) and Leguan and the study for the modernisation of the Parika Stelling.

Completed were the docking and rehabilitation of MV Kanawan and MV Sabanto and the rehabilitation of a section of the Parika Stelling. Regarding sea and river defence, the government spent at total of $5.7B on the maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of sea and river defences. This expenditure exceeded the initial budgeted sum of $3.9B primarily as a result of emergency work undertaken to address breaches at Mahaicony.
Meanwhile, construction and rehabilitation of defence structures were completed in Crane/Mary, Windsor Forest, Waller’s Delight, Grove/Look-Out, East Bank Essequibo; Crabwood Creek and Bush Lot/Maida on the Corentyne; Vryheid’s Lust; Canje River; and, Orealla Village. The Ministry of Finance also noted that stakeholder consultations continued during 2019 to inform the Environmental Impact and Social Assessment and the design phases of the study to develop the waterfront of Port Georgetown and along the East Coast Corridor to Ogle.

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