Law makers on Monday approved a sum of $1.7 billion for additional resources to support the Linden Electricity Company, Inc (LECI) in Region Ten (Upper Demerera- Berbice).
In defending the supplementary sum, Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips said the monies will be used to “keep the lights on” in Linden. He told the House that Government demonstrated care for the people of Region 10 by absorbing the cost of fuel and seeking the extra money. He further explained that the electricity is generated by the Bosai Minerals Group and the company requested the additional sum due to the hike in fuel prices.
“The LECI has a contract with Bosai. This reflects the additional money that is requested by Bosai to cover the period where they would have provided electricity…. This is based on an invoice submitted by Bosai. “Cheques were written and paid to Bosai,” he noted.
Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton challenged the Prime Minister to provide details on the figures the Government received from Bosai in relation to the increases that led to in excess of $1 billion in expenditure.
Phillips, however, dodged the question by highlighting the increases in fuel prices in recent months, have been public knowledge. He maintained that he is not responsible for presenting information to the House that is available to the public.
Norton argued that the Prime Minister is obligated to inform the National Assembly on what basis the additional monies are being sought.
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), David Patterson, also questioned the reason for the funds being sought under the contingency fund since that category of payments is designated for urgent and unforeseen circumstances.
The Prime Minister explained that while the increases in fuel prices were observed in February and continued for several months, the Government has projected that it would need additional sums by a specific time in 2022.
“All the checks, all of the analyses were done, and we asked Bosai to submit their invoices, and we went to the consolidated fund, where they got the money on time to keep the lights on in Linden,” Phillips said.
Meanwhile, the House also approved over $740 million which was expended through the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to conduct urgent drainage works in several regions across Guyana. Approximately $260 million was spent in Region Three, $115 million in Region Four and $153 million in Region Five. $121 million in Region Six and $89 million in Region Seven were spent to advance drainage works.
In addition, the Committee of Supply acceded to the passage of $54.1 million spent from the contingency fund by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to host the National Toshaos Conference in July and Amerindian Heritage Month activities.
$5.2 million was used to offset the conference, while, 48.8 million covered expenses related to the Amerindian Heritage Month activities.