The ‘good life’ is a figment of imagination

first_imgDear Editor,The Auditor General’s 2017 Report continues to demonstrate that the Coalition Government is not ‘fit and proper’ to govern this country and the ‘good life’ is a figment of the Finance Minister’s imagination.In every department of Government, the gross mismanagement and the blatant and downright thievery of public funds have gone entirely out of control. The tentacles of corruption have completely engulfed this nation and there is now an urgency like never before to be freed from this strangulation.The Audit Report is replete with examples of these. One would expect that the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) and the Ministry of Public Security would exhibit a high level of accountability, but unfortunately this was not the case.In 2017, the budgetary allocation for the procurement of goods and services for the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) was revised to $4.366 billion with a total of $4.361 being expended. However, the Audit Report flagged many instances where assets bought could not be located, for instance, an Ultra Sound Cleaner machine purchased for $608,000 could not have been located for physical verification at the time of the audit. Then in the current expenditure, there are some insanely high figures which are hardly believable. For instance, $569.949 million was expended on fuel and lubricants for Senior Officers and it was seen that one motor car actually consumed $3.07 million in fuel, amounting to $256,242 per month! In addition, the Stores Regulations were severely breached, while a huge quantity of assets cannot be given physical forms and numerous expense vouchers cannot be traced.What is also alarming, is the fact that many contractors were actually given the capital investment financing to provide the items contracted and yet failed to make timely delivery of the items. For instance, the sum of $64.734 million was awarded by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to a supplier for 3 Stallion 4×4 Truck Troop Carrier. The agreement was signed on 27th October, 2017, and the supplier was immediately paid $45.314 million. This is 70 per cent of the contract cost! Therefore, it is seen that this is a clear case of financing. But lo and behold! The delivery which was supposed to be in 3 months, was yet to be done 10 months after!The Ministry of Public Security is a mirror image of what took place in the Guyana Defense Force (GDF). For instance, there was an overpayment of staff who severed employment, of which $1,123 million is still to be recovered along with deductions of $889,691. Another case of financing the supplier is the procurement of drugs and medical supplies for the Guyana Forensic Services Laboratory. Another case is the award of a contract to purchase one multi-purpose Fire Rescue boat. This was sole-sourced for $307.457 million and the contractor was paid $131.354 million or 43 per cent of the contract price. After 10 months, this capital item is still to be delivered. Also, the sum of $16.947 million was awarded and fully paid to the supplier, but materials valued $10,818 million is still to be received. Then there is overpayment for maintenance work, overpayment for capital works, breaches of the Stores Regulations and missing log books for vehicles.The above scenarios reflect what is happening in all the Government departments at the Regional and Central Government levels. The tsunami of corruption has inundated and paralysed the economy. Therefore, we as Guyanese need to question ourselves: Whither are we going as a Nation? The Budget gets bigger each year, but what is trickled down to the average person continues to be less with each passing year. Will it be too much to ask that this government give back the cash grants to students? Or the subsidies to the pensioners? Or a living wage increase to all Guyanese including the sugar workers? Or to reduce the numerous taxes? Or the removal of VAT on water and electricity? Or an increase in the old age pension and the public assistance? Or to create investments and job opportunities for our young people? I do not think so! Everyone needs to have a taste of the ‘good life’!Monies to ease the sufferings of the masses can be found if proper budgetary allocation and control is done and there is proper accountability and financial management. It is evident that if the corruption is reduced, then more monies can be made available. The excesses can be trimmed to give a taste of the ‘good life’ to the downtrodden of our society. The Auditor General’s Report has unearthed so many areas where value for money is lost, hence the solution is not bigger budgetary allocations to these Government entities. In fact, these can be cut to facilitate fiscal space and spending in vitally important areas.I am sure the ‘good life’ has not even begun for the masses so the theme of this year’s budget is now a platitude!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC CouncillorRegion 6last_img

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