Under the leitmotif, “What to look forward to in 2020”, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said that no new projects will be done until the budget is passed. He was at the time speaking at a media conference at his Ministry in Kingston, Georgetown this morning.
With General and Regional Elections slated for March 2, and the legal arm of the government crippled by the successful passage of the no confidence motion brought against it by the Parliamentary Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), back in 2018, the Administration was barred from passing a budget.
However, this did not stop them from preparing for it, which they have been doing months prior to the dissolution of Parliament.
Nevertheless, the government agencies are entitled to a disbursement, one-twelfth of their previous allocation to keep the ball rolling until a new budget is passed, which will be after March; the first quarter of this year.
“What the public should know: our maintenance programme will continue unhindered, because with the one-twelfth, we will continue to protect and preserve our assets we would have invested on. So, with that one-twelfth, obviously, in the capital [expenditure] side, they’ll be no new projects being done, but on the maintenance side, we will continue to maintain,” he said.
With oil production already in motion, the country’s ‘aging’ infrastructure will be put to the test, Patterson said.
“We as a ministry will have to respond to those challenges,” he noted.
He is of the belief that the Ministry is well equipped to meet the demands for the oil and gas sector, so far as supporting infrastructure is concerned. He noted too, that with agencies having “ramped up” their capacity last year, they will all work together to keep the country running until the budget is passed.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MoPI)’s 2019 budget, including supplementary, was $38.7B.
On the current side, 100% of the resources were expended, while on the capital side, which entails both local and foreign resources, the ministry expended 84%. Combined, the ministry would have utilized $34.1B, which reflects 88% of the overall allocation.