the fist financial year 2022. Honorable Senior Minister office of the president with responsibility for finance, you may proceed, honorable minister. Thank you very much, mister speaker. Mister speaker sir, I rise to move the motion for the approval of the estimates of the public sector and the budget for the financial year twenty twenty-two And in doing so, I wish to indicate that cabinet has recommended that the National Assembly proceed upon this motion pursuant to article 171 paragraph two. Of the constitution. Mister speaker, budget 2022 is the third budget that this people’s progressive party civic government is submitting to this honorable house in our current term of office. It comes to this house a mere eighteen months Since the culmination of that epic struggle to defend the democracy that was waged for five months. following the unforgettable march twenty twenty elections. Histor y now records it indelibly. That struggle secured the triumph of democracy over dictatorship. And safeguarded the supremacy of the will of the people. Over the 18 months that have elapsed since democracy prevailed.Pessimism has been replaced with optimism. Lethargy has made way for energy. superficiality has made way for substance. And pomp and pageantry have made way for humility and hard work. Yes. the policy void that existed then has been replaced with vision and clear direction. institutional inertia has been replaced with dynamism. and the empty rhetoric has been replaced with concrete action. Today, investors who had walked away are returning and projects that had stalled have resumed. where there was once economic contraction, there is no economic expansion. and where they were once job losses, there is no job creation. these developments are clear for all to see. And they illustrate amply the indisputable relationship between democratic and the economic outcomes. Lest we make the mistake of taking for granted the freedoms for which so many have fought for so long and so hard. The events of 29th December 2021 in this very house. provided a stark reminder of the dangers that still threaten our democratic institutions. It is indeed sobering To contemplate that the reigns of government wants not so long ago. Rested in the same hands that sought to desecrate the sanctity of this house. In the manner that happened last month. Good morning mister speaker, those who are yet to learn that dictatorship is a discredited form of governance.Are also yet to learn that hooliganism has no place in civilized political discourse. the events of that memorable day serve the important purpose of showcasing for the world the political landscape within which we operate here in Guyana. Mister speaker, with this very political landscape in mind we in this people’s progressive party civic government are determined to continue to distinguish ourselves from the alternative. We are backing down in our resolution to serve the cause of unifying the people of Guyana. and at the same time to ensure that the lives of all Guyanese are meaningfully, demonstrably, and lastingly improved. forever faithful to the timeless refrain of our national motto. One people, one nation, one destiny. We are relentless in our commitment to a path of national unity and national prosperity. That’s right. Nowhere is this better articulated. Than in the vision of one Guyana. That was outlined by his excellency the president right here this hallowed house. Almost exactly one year ago. It is that vision of one Guyana. that guides us in all we do. and most immediately it is that vision of one Guyana that guides us now as we present budget twenty twenty-two. As we do so, we are not on mindful, sir. Of the severe challenges that continue to beset both the global and domestic environment in which we operate. To begin with covid-19 continues its relentless cause through variant after variant. Each one wreaking a new installment of public health havoc across the globe. Since I presented budget 2021 last year, 2 45 million more cases, and three point two million more deaths have been confirmed.Bringing the cumulative number of cases and deaths worldwide to three hundred and fifty-three million. And 5. 6 million respectively. The highly contagious Omicron variant has brought a record spike in infections with global cases reaching a high of four million. the 20th of January 2022 sparking a new wave of containment measures worldwide. Mister speaker, like every other country around the world, Diana could not escape covid-19’s inexorable grip on daily human existence. the main anchor of our government’s response has been the deployment of an aggressive vaccination campaign. Currently, mister speaker, 82. 1% of the adult population of Guyana has received at least one dose. While 60. 3% of the adult population is fully vaccinated. Undoubtedly our vaccination successes have helped to contain the most severe consequences of infection and have helped to reduce hospitalization and mortality rates. But despite this stubborn pockets of vaccine hesitancy continue to threaten our prospects of achieving herd immunity. And delay the return to any semblance of normalcy. Beyond its forfeits, global public health consequences covid-19 has also had severe disruptive effects on global production and trade. And particularly, on the global supply chain. Since the onset of COVID-19, supply chains around the world have been clogged up with disruptions in critical shipping routes due to port congestion. Shortages in labor and key materials. And fluctuating demand Additionally, a shortage in container availability drove up to a charges significantly The consequence has been freight rates that have increased by over 400% over the past two years. With most of that increase occurring in twenty twenty-one, As a result, mister speaker, inflationary pressures were amplified, the world over. And global inflation is at its highest in at least a decade. And in some places, inflation is at its highest in over four decades. The disruptions created by the pandemic are not expected to dissipate in the near term. Mister speaker, our government has moved to contain the pass through to the domestic economy. Specific interventions implemented to date include restricting the freight cost to pre-covid-19 levels for the purposes of determining the taxable value of imports. This measure is estimated to have saved Guyanese businesses and consumers nearly $4 billion dollars. Since its implementation in August 2021. A successive reductions in the excise tax rate charged on gasoline and diesel. First in February 20 21 from 50% to 35% And then in October from 35 to 20 percent also helped contain the cost of domestic transportation which feeds through directly to prices more broadly. Mister speaker, as if covid-19 were not enough, 2021 also brought the most severe floods in living memory.The 2021 floods were even more devastating than the 2005 floods. And resulted in a national disaster being declared. During the first half of last year, we experienced the second highest level of rainfall since 1981. With the month of May alone recording 60 7. 7 millimeters. Compared with four hundred and 5 millimeters in May 2020. The floods that followed left none of our regions unharmed. In the productive sector over one hundred and thirty 000 acres of farmland were affected. And approximately 1. 3 million animals were lost.Here again sir, our government moved swiftly. to deploy mobile pumps to remove the water from the land and heavy equipment to clear previously blocked channels and show up structures that came under threat. We distributed three thousand seven 761 medical kits to reduce the risk of waterborne disease. And seventy-four thousand one hundred and sixty-two food hampers. To provide relief to households in distress. In addition, Mister Speaker, we distributed over $7 billion dollars in relief cash grants to households and to the agriculture sector. In addition to thousands of bags of seed paddy to help rice farmers recover from the flood. Unavoidably, mister speaker, the temporary disruption to production of food items caused by the floods.Contributed to some price escalation in the domestic marketplace. But these started to revert somewhat as the year progressed. And as production resumed. The immediacy of our interventions helped to facilitate a quick recovery from the floods. Never us the reality of our acute vulnerability to climate change and to extreme weather events is ever present. And will only be mitigated with very significant investments aimed at achieving greater climate resilience. Mister speaker, even as we confront head on, the former rubber challenges before us. Our government continues to work in earnest to advance the aggressive agenda for transformation that we had previously outlined.At this moment of unprecedented opportunity for our country. We seek now to convert the bright prospects before us. Into realised national and individual well being for all Guyanese. in this regard, mister speaker, budget 2022 has historic significance. Building on the foundation laid by the previous two budgets. Budget 20 twenty2 launches what will be the most rapid period of transformation and modernization ever witnessed in Guyana’s entire history. as I will shortly elaborate sir. Budget 2022 provides for massive investment in infrastructure that will change the face of our country forever. opening vast new tracts of land for productive purposes. Establishing entire new communities while connecting others.And making thousands of Guyanese, homeowners for the very first time. This lays the basis for thousands of rewarding jobs to be created for Guyanese nationals. including by leveraging the local content opportunities that are now being created. and it provides for relevant training to ensure that the Guyanese workforce is suitably equipped. this budget lays the cornerstone sir For the visible leap in the coverage and quality of social services enjoyed by our Guyanese brothers and sisters, including and especially the most vulnerable. It is also important to note sir. The budget 2022 is the first budget that will benefit from financing from the proceeds of Guyana’s new and emerging oil sector. in this regard this budget supported by the robust institutional architecture that this government has established. Ensures that two complementary and critically important objectives are met. First, that the urgent development needs of the country are met in the shortest possible time. While secondly and simultaneously, that the long term economic well being of the country is protected and safeguarded at all times. Mister speaker, we must never take for granted. The challenges and risks that lie before us. They are real and formidable. At the same time, we must be cognizant of the vastness of the opportunities that beckon us as a nation. And we must have the vision and courage to convert those opportunities into a positive and lasting reality.Remaining faithful always to the one of our country Budget twenty twenty-two does precisely this. This. And it is therefore presented under the theme steadfast against all challenges. Resolute in building our one Guyana. I will now review the global and economic, the global and the regional economic context within which budget 2022 comes to this honorable house. Mister speaker, as indicated earlier, global economic performance continues to be dominated by covid-19.Undoubtedly, the 9. 9 vaccine doses administered worldwide to date. Would have helped to limit the severity of the pandemic’s impact. However, the spikes caused by successive variants has resulted in some rolling back of previously relaxed containment measures. These factors combined with the impact of the significant government support measures implemented in both advanced and emerging market and developing economies. Led the global economy led to the global economy recording a significant rebound from the twenty twenty contraction. Global growth is now estimated at five 9 percent in 2021. Underlying this was estimated growth of 5% in advanced economies led by the United Kingdom, United States, and the Euro area. Which grew by seven point two, 5. 6, and 5. 2 percent respectively. Emerging market and developing economies grew by 6. 5%. It’s particularly strong performances from China. And India, eight. 1 and 9% respectively. Latin America and the Caribbean recorded growth of 6 point eight percent. And within the Caribbean, the latest estimate of overall growth in our sub region. Is 3 percent in 2021. But excluding Diana, that estimate is revised downwards to 1.2%. Reflecting continued subdued conditions in the tourism sector Looking ahead to twenty twenty-two, global growth prospects are subject to a high level of uncertainty. Renewed outbreaks, continued trade disruptions, and rising commodity prices are just a few of the downside risks to this year’s outlook. Against this backdrop, global growth for 2022 is projected to be lower. At 4. 4%. put in advanced economies and emerging market and developing economies is expected to grow by three 9 and 4. 8 percent respectively While growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to moderate to two point four percent. Meanwhile, the Caribbean is expected to grow by 11 percent overall but by 6. 1% if Guyana were to be excluded. As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 had adverse impacts on the global supply chain, thereby fuelling global inflationary pressure. Rising commodity prices coupled with the supply demand, mismatches, resulted in inflation rates increasing rapidly. Both in advanced economies and in some emerging market and developing countries.In the advanced world, the UK saw the highest inflation since nineteen ninety-two. While the US has reported a seven percent 12 month inflation rate at the end of twenty twenty-one The fastest consumer price increases since nineteen eighty-two. Similarly in Canada, annual inflation reached 4. 8%, the highest level since 1991. Prices also soared in the Euro area and in Latin American, the Caribbean with growth in consumer prices estimated at 5 percent and 9. 3% respectively. Mister speaker, like all commodity exporting nations, Guyana remains particularly susceptible to global price fluctuations as evidenced by significant swings in our export earnings across some commodities in 2021. Across our main exports, five rice and logs, recorded an overall drop in prices.The average world market price of rice fell by 7. 8%. four hundred and fifty-eight point three US dollars per metric ton. On account of increased supply in large producing countries. Similarly, the average price of logs decreased by two. 7%. percent. From two hundred 9 US dollars per cubic meter. The average world market price for sugar, on the other hand, rose by 3-7 point 6 percent. At the end of last year, estimated 39 cents per kilogram. With respect to precious metals, the average price for gold increased by one point seven percent to 1, 6 US dollars per troy ounce. Similarly, there was a significant increase in aluminum prices which grew by 45.1% in 2021 to 24 8 US dollars per metric ton. with respect to crude oil, prices rose by 66. 5 percent to an average of seventy 4 US dollars per barrel in twenty twenty-one This increase resulted from supply disruptions and the global energy crunch, the latter resulting from unprecedented growth in demand, combined with dwindling supplies. Mister speaker, in twenty twenty-two, prices are expected to taper for most of our export commodities. The price of rice is expected to decline further by 12. 7% to $400 US dollars per metric ton. Similarly market price for sugar is expected to contract by 5% to 37 cents US cents per kilogram.Further while the price of gold is also projected to fall in twenty twenty-two by two point 8% to $1, 750 US dollars per tri ounce. The prices of aluminum and logs are expected to rise. Like aluminum, the average price of crude oil is also expected to increase this year. Growing by five percent, owing to continued high demand to an average of 74 US dollars per barrel in twenty twenty-two. Mister speaker, I will now review developments in the domestic economy in twenty twenty-one. In this regard, sir, real gross domestic product in Guyana is estimated to have grown by 19. 9%. While non-all GDP is estimated to have grown by four 6 percent in 2021. Just say hasten to add sir was achieved despite the persistence of COVID-19. As well as the devastating impact of the 2021 floods. With this overall rate of growth, that is to say the nineteen 9% overall. Guyana is likely to be amongst the three fastest growing economies worldwide in 2021. the very creditable performance of the non-oil productive sector reflects the delicate and dynamic policy balance truck between aggressive containment of covid-19 on the one hand and phase reopening of the economy on the other hand. It also reflects the prompt and proactive flood mitigation measures. Which helped limit the fallout in the agriculture sector. And supported the sector in resuming activity in the shortest time. Additionally, sir, I might add that the services sector recorded extraordinarily strong performances. In response to a policy framework that has stimulated historic levels of demand for services. And that has facilitated a commensurate response on the supply side. sectoral performance, agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Mister speaker, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors, bore the brunt of the impact of the floods, And now it’s estimated to have contracted by 9. 1% In 2021. This position is largely on account of reducing output in the sugar growing, rice growing, and other crops sub sectors which outweighed improved performance in the forestry, fishing and livestock sub sectors. Mister speaker, despite the devastation caused by the flood, the sugar growing sub sector managed to contain the reduction in its value added to 34.7% in 2021. And delivered total sugar production of 58, 000 and 25 tons. This reflects the destruction of some 4, 300 hectares of cane. In inundated fields in the first half of 2021. It is estimated soil that approximately 35% of the standing cane for the second crop was lost. As a result of the floods. At Albion Estate alone, it is estimated that the mortality rate for the Standing Canes plant planned to be harvested for the first crop was 80 percent. Having drained some 4. 5 million tons of water off the lands. The industry was only able to save some of the surviving canes. Similarly sir, the record high rainfall observed in the first half of last year also had a severe impact on the rice growing sector. But the sector managed to confine the reduction in its value added to 20. 5%. With total paddy production in 2021 amounting to $859, 9 90 tons. Which resulted in $558, 995. Tonnes of rice being produced despite the floods. Mister speaker, the other prop sub sector is estimated to have contracted by 9. 8% in 2021. When compared with the output from this industry in 2020, significant declines are observed for many fruits, vegetables, spices, etcetera. Here again, the impact of the flood was sharp and severe. The reduced output of many items under this category was observed a marketplace and fed through to prices of these unrelated commodities. On the upside, growth in the livestock sub sector is estimated at 9. 2% in 2021. Despite the loss, the heavy loss of livestock in the floods. This increases on account of growth in the production of poultry meat, Beef, pork and mutton. All of which are, which, which rather are estimated to have expanded by sixteen point five, 13.9, 23 six and twenty-one point three percent respectively. These more than offset the estimated declines in the production of eggs and milk. The increase in production reflects the growth in demand which followed the relaxation of covid-19 restrictions on restaurants and other food establishments. Combined with very strong demand in the oil and gas and mining sectors. Similarly, mister speaker The forestry subsector is estimated to have expanded in 2021 by 11point3 percent. Some level of recovery was noted in the latter months of the year. After the initial impact of the floods affected accessibility and declarations. According to the latest declarations, timber output grew from three hundred and 4-four thousand one hundred and seventy-nine cubic meters in 2020.To 3830001 hundred and 189 cubic meters in 2021. Mister speaker, despite the well-known challenges currently being faced by the sub sector, phishing is estimated to have grown by eleven percent. having shown signs of recovery in the latter half of twenty which resulted in some 15 point seven percent growth in fish production. Notable increases were observed in production across all fish products with the most significant growth observed for industrial fin fish which grew by two hundred and 3-5 point 4 percent Undermining the sub sectors overall performance was a 13. 5 percent was a thirteen point percent decline In the production of shrimp. As a result of declines in catches of white belly and industrial sea bob strip. These declines outweighed increased catches of artisanal sea bobble shrimp and bronze. The extractive industries. Mister speaker, the mining and quarrying sector is estimated to have expanded by thirty-six 5% in 2021. Driven mainly by an expansion in the oil and gas and support services sub sector.Which when combined with the estimated growth in the other mining and quarrying sub sector outweighs the contraction in the gold and boxite mining sub sectors. A total of 42. 7 million barrels of oil were produced in 2021. Compared with 27. 2 million. In 2020. This level of output was supported by the remedying of the mechanical issues initially encountered as a result of which the oil production rate for 2021 is now estimated as approximately one hundred and sixteen 900 barrels of oil per day.The increased level of production resulted in the subsectors value added increasing by an estimated forty-six point five percent. output on the boxite mining sub sector is estimated to decline by three. 8% in 2021. In the latter half of the year along with the effects of the continuous rainfall on the condition on the condition of access roads and on mining operations in some locations. One of the large operators faced mechanical issues with some of their machinery. Thereby resulting in output falling by an estimated 12 point 7 percent below 2020 performance. This outweighed the 155% growth in output recorded by the other operator who is somewhat smaller. Mister speaker, the gold mining sub sector is estimated to have contracted by 14. 8% in 2021. Driven by lower output from both small, large, and small and medium scale producers. On account of technical, financial, and administrative challenges, the combined output from the large operators declined by 31. 7% in 2021, to 68, 268 triances. Further the small and medium scale operators declared 11 point 3 percent less ounces in 2021. Taking total 20 twenty-one output to four hundred and 9nine thousand and 54 try ounces. In contrast, in the latter half of twenty twenty-one, output from the other mining and quarrying sub sector, which comprises diamond, sand, and stone mining. Continued its upper trajectory. The sub sector is estimated to have expanded by eighty-one point one My apologies sir. By 81. 6% in 2021. Diamond declarations grew by an estimated eighty-two point two percent. Wow. To 45 thousand one hundred and six metric carats last year. Sand extraction, soap and stone production. Are estimated to have grown by one hundred and 3-2 point eight percent And 15. 9% Respectively. Partly supported by heavy emphasis largely rather supported by heavy emphasis of construction activity in the government’s public sector investment program PSIP as well as rapid expansion in private sector construction, activity. manufacturing. Mister speaker, the manufacturing sector is estimated to have grown by three 5 percent in 2021. While rice and sugar manufacturing are estimated to have declined by 16 1 and 34. 7 percent respectively. The other manufacturing sector is estimated to have expanded by 20. 7%. The expansion in other manufacturing is attributed to increase output of products like cement blocks fabricated metro metro products beverages, chemical products, and other food. electricity and water supply and sewage Mister speaker, electricity supply is also estimated to have grown in 2021 by 4. 7% While the water supply and surge sector is estimated to declined by 6. 4%. Partly on account of loss reduction efforts. Total water production amounted to 162 million cubic meters in 2021. Construction. Mister speaker as indicated above in relation to production of in relation to production of sand and stone. Investment in critical infrastructural projects by both the public and private sectors.Is driving and will continue to drive significant growth in construction activity. Current estimates show that the construction sector grew by twenty-nine point eight percent when compared with 2020. This as I indicated sir is underpinned by both the major public infrastructure build out that is currently underway. As well as the increased private sector activity in industrial, commercial, and residential construction. Mister speaker, growth in the services sector is estimated at eleven point nine percent. This is largely the result of significant expansion in wholesale and retail trade and repairs, transport and storage, financial and insurance activities, and administrative and support services which are estimated to have grown by thirty-two point nine, thirty-one point eight, ten point three and seven point 4 percent respectively. Growth and wholesale and retail trade and repairs was primarily driven by heightened demand for consumption, goods, and construction materials. With respect to transport and storage, there was observed growth in the land transport sub industry through cargo movements and increased passenger transport attributed to relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and the wider growth in the economy.The administrative and support services industries expanded on account of increased activities related to the rental and leasing of machinery and equipment used in the construction industry. Rising custom care service activities and an increase in demand for security services due to business expansion countrywide. Mister speaker, I now turn to the balance of payments. The overall balance of payments recorded a surplus of one hundred and thirty point two million at the end of twenty twenty-one.Twenty-four point 4% higher than the surplus in twenty twenty. This was the result of a higher capital account surplus. Which more than offset the larger deficit on the current account. Mister speaker over the year, the deficit on the current account increased from eight hundred and 9 million. The billion five and 1 million US dollars. Primarily on account of the importation of Guyana’s second floating production storage and offloading vessel, FPSO, as it is known. As well as a significant increase in net service payments. At the end of twenty twenty-one, total export earnings amounted to four billion three and 50 2 million US dollars 68% higher than in twenty twenty. This was mainly driven by oil exports growing by one hundred and 6 percent to 2 billion nine hundred 5 million US dollars. non oil export earnings amounted to $1 billion three hundred and seventy-6 point 5 million US dollars.Mister speaker, matching the intensity of the rise in exports, total import payments grew by 90 8% to 4 billion 293. 1 million US dollars. This as I indicated earlier, was primarily attributed to the arrival of Ghana’s second FPSO. This accounted for 1 billion 658. 6 million US dollars. Or eight. 6% of total imports for twenty twenty-one net surface payments stood at 2 billion 557. 1 million US dollars. Throughout indeed, mister speaker, throughout the external sector section, section on the balance of payments. The dollars to which I refer would be US dollars. And I believe particularly given events, the last sitting, this is an important clarification. If I might be permitted sir, if I might be permitted, sir, a slightly lighter moment. Mister speaker, net service payment stood at, as I was saying, two billion 5 57 point one million US dollars at the end of twenty twenty-one Rising 40. four percent above the end 20twenty position. This resulted from payments for non-factor and factor services growing by 40. 1 percent and 60. 8% Respectively. Mister speaker, the capital account recorded a surplus of 1 billion six hundred and seventy8 point million in 2021. 7 8 million US dollars above the surplus in 2020. This was primarily attributed to a one hundred and 5 percent increase in net foreign direct investment to $4 billion three hundred and thirty-six point two million US dollars.The overall favourable performance on the capital account was also supported by the net position for the non-financial public sector. Recording a seventy-seven 9% lower deficit of 42. 1 million US dollars. This was largely due to disbursements increasing By one hundred and sixty-three point two percent to 125. 2 million US dollars. Mister speaker, the balance of payment surplus resulted in the Bank of Guyana’s external reserve position Increasing to eight hundred and ten 8 million US dollars at the end of 2021. Up from six hundred 6 million at the end of twenty twenty. Monetary developments. Mister speaker, the stock of broad money at the end of 2021 was 588. 3 billion dollars. 12. 9% above the 2020 level. Growth was supported by narrow and quasi money expanding by 14. 5% And 10. 8% to $342. 5 billion. 245. 8 billion respectively. Yet in the former resulted primarily from demand deposits and currency and circulation increasing by 16. 6% and 12. percent respectively. The increase in demand deposits was driven by business enterprises and individual customers deposits growing. By 2-four point 2 percent And 6. 8% respectively. Mister speaker at the end of twenty twenty-one net domestic credit stood at two hundred and 1 billion below the twenty twenty level of 3 hundred and 3 seven point three billion. While it’s credit to the public sector declined, private sector credit increased by ten 4% to 286. 9 billion. Consistent with the strong growth in the economy. And improved sentiments in the financial sector. Private sector credit growth was supported by increased lending of 16 4%. 27% and 90 point 4% to businesses in the services manufacturing, and agriculture sectors respectively. The growth in lending to the services sector resulted mainly from increased credit for other services, distribution, and telecommunications respectively. The increased lending to the manufacturing sector was primarily attributed to credit for other construction and engineering. And other manufacture expanded, expanding also. Growth and credit to agriculture was primarily driven by increased lending for paddy production and the shrimp and other fishing. Mister speaker, while credit to businesses in the mining and quarrying sector reduced, lending to households and for real estate mortgages increased by 7. 4 percent and 5. 5%, respectively. The expansion in the former was supported by growth of two 7 billion and $2. 1 billion in lending for other purposes and motorcars respectively. The in real estate mortgage loans. Was due to mortgages granted for private dwellings Rising by six point 6% to 88. 2 billion. Reflecting our government’s strong drive to promote home ownership. Mister speaker, as it relates to the public sector in contrast to a net credit position of one hundred and 2 billion at the end of twenty twenty, the position reflected net deposits of 2.9 billion at the end of 2021. This improvement resulted from credit to central government, declining from 188. 2 billion to 73 billion. Amid the previous as a result of the previously reported securitization of the government’s overdraft with the benchers. The overall favourable position was also supported by public enterprises and other public sector. Net deposits increasing from $40. 9 billion and $20. 1 billion to $51. 7 billion 204. 3 billion respectively. Mister speaker, consistent with the increased lending by the commercial banks and the growth in the money supply is total reserves deposited with the Central Bank declining by six point 5% to 117.4 billion over the year. Additionally, total liquid assets of commercial banks increased from 211. 5 billion to 257. 6 billion over the review period. prices and income. Mister speaker, as discussed earlier, inflationary pressures are elevated worldwide. Diana was not exempt from these pressures. Indeed as also discussed previously, imported by specials were mitigated by measures implemented by government. But were compounded by the domestic shock to productive output. Especially as a result of the floods. the immediate aftermath of the flood resulted in a sharp spike in prices But as production returned to some normalcy as the year progressed. Some amount of reversion was visibly observed in the Latter months of last year. This led Mister Speaker to a 12 month inflation rate of 5 7% in December 2021. This reflected higher which rose by 11. 6% and contributed 5 percentage points to the inflation rate. with respect to interest rates. There were no substantial trade changes in treasury bill yields over the review period. The 91 day treasury bill and one hundred and 8-2 day treasury bill remained unchanged at one point 54 and 1. 0 respectively. While the 364 day treasury bill declined marginally from one percent to zero point nine nine percent. And on the commercial bank rates, the small savings rate decreased from 0. 91% to 0. 83 percent. While the weighted average lending rate also fell from eight point 95 to 8. 85%. incomes. Mister speaker, our government remains firmly committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of all Guyanas. In twenty twenty-one, a 7% across the board increase was paid to over fifty 000 public servants. Teachers, members of the discipline services, and government pensioners. We also committed at the end of 2021 to seek to resolve the disparities that exist across positions in the public service, salary scales, to ensure parity and consistency with which persons with similar qualifications are paid. They required work to support this process will be undertaken this year. Additionally, in recognition of the tremendous efforts of our health workers across the country, who have continued to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.A special tax-free bonus equivalent to two-week salary and amounting to more than $600 million dollars was paid to nine thousand 200 health workers Father, in fulfillment of our manifesto promise, our government restored the one-month bonus to the members of the discipline services. which was so unconscionably removed And which on its restoration resulted in a one 2 billion dollar payout to our hardworking men and women in uniform. Mister speaker, government also paid a two hundred 000 one-off cash payment to nearly five thousand three hundred sugar workers who were so callously severed from the N more Skeldon Rose Hall and Wales Sugar Estates this injected over one point three billion dollars into these communities. Mister speaker, I now turn to the fiscal position. Non-financial public sector. The non-financial public sector deficit after grants was one hundred and twenty-one point eight billion. Equivalent to 10. point seven percent of GDP at the end of 2021. This reflected the expanded public sector investment program, growth in public expenditure to finance social programs, and to respond to the shocks encountered during the year. As well as the impact of the revenue measures implemented to provide relief to businesses and households including to reverse the punitive taxes that had been imposed during the 2015 to 2020 period.On the central government side, the operations of the central government recorded a deficit of one 15 point seven billion dollars. 10. 2% of GDP at the end of 2021. This is a largely attributed to a 61. 8 billion dollar increase in total expenditure which outweighed the $38. 5 billion dollar growth in revenue. Mister speaker, the strong performance of the economy and expanded activity across multiple sectors. Resulted in revenue gains that more than offset the annualized loss from the revenue measures implemented in the 2020 and 2021 budgets. As a result, total current revenue net of inflows of the Guyana Red Plus Investment Fund, Griff as it is known, was two hundred and 8 billion dollars, 16.7%, above 2020. Tax revenue collections which accounted for 96% of total revenue collections, net of grief again, amounted to two hundred and 1 billion, a growth of 16. 8% over 2020. internal revenue collections increased by $20. 1 billion or 17. 8 per 7th or by 20. 1 billion or 17. 8% over 2020. This was driven largely by higher increases of personal income tax. POIE, private sector corporation taxes and withholding taxes. The increase in personal income tax of 8. 2 billion. Was driven by highway remittances by employers in both the public and private sectors. collections of private sector corporation taxes grew by 22. 6 percent due to higher payments by companies within the retail trade which we will recall performed extremely well on the product in the productive sector side telecommunications and manufacturing of beverages sectors amongst others Withholding taxes grew by $4. 8 billion dollars. Largely on account of collections from the oil and gas sector Mister speaker, the tax vat. An excise tax collections, increased by $10. 9 billion dollars or 13. 1percent. And underlying this performance is a very interesting set of facts. Excise tax collections grew by 12. 5 billion dollars. Above the $33. 9 billion dollars in 2020. As a result of higher tax collections from the importation of motor vehicles and petroleum products. Collections from the importation of motor vehicles grew by $6. seven billion dollars above 2020. Reflective of the budget measure in 2020 that removed the punitive restriction prohibiting importation of vehicles above eight years. What this demonstrates are is that the removal of that restriction unleashed demand for motor vehicles. Those were people who wanted to import motor vehicles and could not import motor vehicles during 2015 to 2020. But they became a motorcar owner. In 2021. They became a motorcar owner in 2021. On the downside, collections from VAT, net of refunds totaled 48. four billion dollars, $1. 5 billion dollars below the level in 2020. This was primarily attributed, sir, to the zero rating of several previously standard rated goods and services, giving back to the people of Guyana. It would be recalled, sir, that this progressive party, civic government under the leadership of his excellency, the president Doctor Mohammed Irfan Ali. Committed even prior to our assumption of office that we will roll back those punitive taxes And immediately upon assuming office, within weeks, brought an emergency budget in twenty twenty, and delivered on our promise.This is the direct result, sir. Mister speaker, customs and trade tax collections were $27 billion dollars. A $5. 7 billion dollar increase above 2020 resulting from higher collection of import duties a $5. 1 billion dollars from goods imported within the wholesale food, beverages, and tobacco category and retail sales of hardware, paints, glass, automotive, automotive fuel rather, household appliances, and furniture. All reflecting the resumption of economic activity and growth in disposable incomes. non-tax revenues totaled 10. 7 billion dollars, $1. 3 billion dollars above 2020. Mister speaker, central government expenditure totaled three hundred and 3 billion dollars. 61. 8 billion dollars above the amount expended in 2020. Within this, non-interest current expenditure for 2021 was $275 billion dollars. Growing by 13. 8%. This was primarily driven by growth in other goods and services of 17. 8 billion and transfer payments of 9. 6 billion. The higher expenditure within the goods and services category. Was attributed mainly to the more than $7 billion dollars in payments to farmers and households for flood, relief, assistance to recover from the floods.The was also higher spending on covid-19 vaccines due to the due to the country wide roll out campaign. The growth in transfer payments resulted from such factors as the restoration of the grants to parents of children attending school. As well as the extension of that program to private school students for the very first time. It also reflected increased in training expenditure on training such as through the provision of six thousand online scholarships under the under the Guyana Online Academy for Learning Program as a goal program. Mister speaker, capital expenditure grew By 28. 3 billion dollars to one hundred 4 billion dollars on account of the ramped up public sector investment program To support critical infrastructure development. Including transport infrastructure. Such as roads and bridges. As well as the social sectors such as schools and public healthcare facilities. A significant contributing factor was also the resumption of the government housing program. Mister speaker, the public enterprises at the end of 2021 recorded a deficit of $6. 2 billion dollars. Total receipts were 140. 3 billion, 20. 2% higher than 2020, and total expenditure, was one hundred and 5 billion, twenty-four point one percent above, 20 twenty. A significant contributory factor was higher operational costs. A Jeep due to increased oil prices.Public debt management Mister speaker, over the last year, Our government has continued its well established track record of prudent public debt management. Despite global and domestic shocks which constrained economic activity, affected government revenue, unnecessitated increased government spending to curb the social and economic ramifications. In executing Guyana’s public debt management functions, we have stuck steadfastly to the tried and tested strategy of contracting the development financing in a manner that is conducive to both cost minimization, and risk mitigation. Consequently, we have succeeded in preserving the sustainability of Guyana’s total debt. total stock of public, and publicly guaranteed debt. Which amounted to three point one two six billion US dollars at the end of last year. Equivalent to thirty-eight point 7% of GDP. And it will noted sir that that represents one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in this entire hemisphere.The end twenty twenty-one stock of public and publicly guaranteed debt represented a 20. 6% increase from 2020. Primarily driven by growth of domestic public debt for reasons I will shortly outline. At the end of last year, domestic public debt at the end of 2021 that is. Domestic public debt totaled one point 73 1 billion US dollars. Such point four percent higher than at the end of 2020 Mainly juicer to two factors. The first is an eighty-one percent increase in the stock of treasury bills to seven hundred and 2. 7 million US dollars. Reflecting this government’s commitment to finance fiscal operations by recourse to the market. Instead of perpetuating the inherited malpractice of overdraft accumulation at the Bank of Guyan. The second factor, sir, responsible for the higher domestic debt is the issuance of debentures to the Central Bank in June 2021 for a total value of 9 and 2 million US dollars.These debentures were issued primarily to securitize and regularize the inherited overdraft. The issuance of these dimensions restored a positive balance on public deposits at the central bank. and also restored the integrity of Guyana’s fiscal accounts The stock of external public debt grew by 5. five percent over the last year to US one point three 392 million US dollars. This increase was largely influenced by positive net flows from predators. Mister speaker, total public debt service payments amounted to 121. 9 million US dollars in 2021. Mainly as a result of that service on the increased domestic debt stock to which I have just alluded. The growth in domestic debt service payments was caused by three factors. Firstly, an increase in that service, payments, on the ventures issued, on the benches held rather by the National Insurance Scheme due to an early repayment which yielded interest rate, cost savings to the central government, and improved liquidity at the NIS. Secondly 2021 marked the first year that the central government fully covered the payments under a bond issued by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited in 2018. A bond with which I believe members of this honorable house are very familiar.And a bond that was issued with an unconditional government guarantee. Thirdly, domestic debt service costs were also driven up by the payment of interest on the dementia to which I just referred. On the external side that surface payments increased by 6% in 2021 due to the commencement of principal repayments on several loans to our external creditors. The Natural Resource Fund. Mister speaker, it would be recalled that the previous government had established the natural resource fund by enacting an NRF act in 2019. And the Lao government enacted a revised NRF act last month to address, to address the most egregious, deficiencies of the twenty nineteen enactment. I will return shortly. Sir, to the significance of the changes we made to the institutional architecture of the NRF, which flow from the 2021 enactments. Permit me, however, sir. Meanwhile, to report that from the commencement of oil production in December 2019 to the end of 2021, there were 69 lifts of oil exported from Guyana.Of which nine were for government. In March twenty twenty, the 54. 9 million US dollar with 54, the US $54. 9 million dollar proceeds from our nation’s first of crude oil were deposited into the fund. This was followed in April 20 twenty by the first royalty payment of $4. 9 million US dollars. Mister speaker, the fund received a hundred one hundred and eighty5 point million US dollars from four lifts of profit oil and 12. 9 million US dollars from royalties for the period from March. Twenty twenty to December 2020. And in 2021, the fund received three hundred and fifty-seven point two million US dollars from government share of profit oil.And $52 million US dollars from royalties. A result of rich sorrow at the end of twenty twenty-one the funds cumulative balance stood at six hundred and seven 6 million US dollars. Mister speaker, consistent with our government’s commitment not to use any of the proceeds of the oil sector until the deficiencies of the highly defective 20 19 act were corrected. No withdrawals have been made from the fund to date. As I will subsequently discuss Budget twenty twenty-two proposes the first withdrawals to be made in keeping with the strengthened legislative framework that now governs the NRF. Mr. Speaker, I now turn to sectoral developments on our agenda for twenty twenty-two. Firstly, Sarah by way of introduction and if I might be permitted to set the context. Mister speaker, this government led by his excellency, the president, Doctor Mohammed Irfan Ali. Is guided by the contract we have with the people of Guyan. The manifesto on the basis of which they elected us. our two previous budgets were guided accordingly and so is Budget twenty twenty-two. Our priorities continue to be to ensure that our economy is growing rapidly but sustainably. Based on a diversified, competitive, and resilient productive base. Two, that that rapid economic growth translates into abundant employment and entrepreneurial activity for the Guyanese people. Three, that our people are equipped with the skills that they will need to participate meaningfully in and contribute fully to the economic transformation that is on the way. Four, that the infrastructure prerequisites for rapid transformation to a modern Guyana are in place. With special focus on energy, transport and climate resilient sea and river defenses. Five, that all people have access to the highest standards of social services. Including education, health care, water, and sanitation. that basic protections and support are offered to the most vulnerable in our society. Particularly the elderly and the young. And seven that our institutions are strengthened to ensure a peaceful, safe, harmonious society. And one where our citizens enjoy the highest quality of service. And the highest standards of living. Throughout the country. Mister speaker, This is the essence of what we committed to deliver to the people of Guyana.And this is the essence of what budget 202two contains and will deliver. I should add sir that we are also guided by the global and regional goals to which we have subscribed. These include of course the sustainable development goals agreed under the auspices of the United Nations in agenda 2030. All of our national and sectoral strategies are guided by our aspiration to realize the eminently relevant objectives and targets of this globally shared agenda to which we are firmly committed. And which we are proud to associate ourselves Similarly sir, we continue to be proud of our place as deceit of the Caribbean community.And we have resumed our rightful place in that community. It would be recalled, sir. That since this people’s progressive party government returned to office in twenty twenty, and since his excellency president Ali assumed the presidency. Guyana was restored to its historic place as holding the cabinet, the the portfolio responsibility for agriculture and food security in the cabinet arrangement. our responsibility, sir, with which we have been vested for as long as I can remember myself. But which sir, we, was either removed from us, or which we surrendered, mysterious for reasons that are still on player during the course of the 2015 and 2020 period.Guyana now once again polls portfolio responsibility for agriculture and food security. In the person, in the person of his excellency, the president, and ably assisted by my distinguished colleague, the minister of agriculture. I mentioned this sir because foremost amongst the regional agendas and strategies to which we are committed is the agenda styled 25 by 2-5. This cell is a regional commitment or a regional agenda for action which calls for the region.To reduce its extra regional food import bill by 25% before 2025. We embrace fully this objective. Not least, sir, because it coincides fully with our objective to ramp up agricultural production, agro processing, and agribusiness as a major productive sector going forward. Mister speaker, budget twenty twenty-two, marks a visible stepping up of the pace towards achieving all these objectives, and towards achieving them in an observable, measurable quantifiable and lasting manner.With this in mind, this budget proposes dramatically scaled up investments in almost all sectors. But it is important sir also to emphasize that budget twenty twenty-two is cast within a framework that strikes a balance between meeting the immediate needs of the country and on the other hand investing for the future hence Mister Speaker, our heavy investment in infrastructure that would be so critical for the long-term growth and being of our country. And to this matter, I will return shortly. Looking ahead, the future will be a period of strong economic growth. Which will moderate into the medium term. We will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to address supply side constraints in the near term. Given the reality of pre-existing imported inflationary pressures. At the same time we will remain focused on preserving and reinforcing fiscal and ex sustainability for the long term. Including, I emphasize by prudent management of the resources earned from our oil and gas sector. Mister speaker, I turn to our low carbon development, our overarching, low-carbon development strategy. as a new oil and gas producer, it becomes doubly important for Guyana to maintain and demonstrate our strong global credentials on climate issues. For generations, Guyanese have discharged more than our fair responsibility in the global fight against climate change. While at the same time, we have been bearing the brunt of climate vulnerability Our country has championed the global effort to recognize the value of standing forests in fighting climate change. In particular under the distinguished leadership of now vice president and former president Doctor Barrett Jagdeo. Mister speaker, at the heart of our original and pioneering LCDS, was a mechanism to monetize the value of forest climate services.And under that strategy, Guyana was able to earn or was eligible rather to earn up to two hundred and fifty million US dollars. Under a partnership, concluded with the government of Norway. Mister speaker, regrettably, during the period from 2015 to 2020, despite all the talk about green and green state, over 1 thirty-five million US dollars of the revenues earned under that strategy. Well over a half of what had been earned, was ignored and left unallocated. just left sitting there. Other programs that had started before twenty fifteen slowed down and were effectively stopped.Moreover, work to integrate with global carbon markets did not advance at all. Mister speaker, since we resumed office, the task of repairing these failures and recovering from those lost years has begun. In budget twenty twenty-one, we unblocked. Indeed they were last years for so many reasons and in so many respects. Mister speaker, in budget 2021, we unblocked over $85 million US dollars of the $137 million dollars that had been left on allocated. Work has now been resumed on solar energy. a marinian land tightling, ICT access for the Hinterland, and sustainable land management practices, all funded through the Guyana Red Plus Investment Fund. And that fund itself was a pioneering structure.Pioneer an innovative and pioneering structure. Designed by Guyana. And in particular, like I said earlier, under the leadership of our then president. Mister speaker, the benefits of all of these investments in those areas to which I’ve just those areas that I’ve just mentioned, the benefits of all of these investments will fully materialize over the course of 2022 and early 2023 And these benefits will last long into the future. Bringing economic and social benefit to tens of thousands of Ghanaians. In twenty-two, we will also allocate the balance received from Norway currently sitting in the Griff. When combined with investment income, this totals to just around $54 million dollars, US dollars that is.Alongside the requisite institutional strengthening, the majority of this sum will be invested in building out major new outfall channels in regions 5 and 6, similar to the Hope Canal, to strengthen our climate resilience. and I hasten to add that these represent two of three new major outfall channels. That his excellency, the president, Doctor Mohammed Irfan Ali has instructed has instructed be built In order to ensure that the same resilience that is enjoyed by Georgetown and the East Coast as a result of Hope Canal now be extended to regions three, five, and six. This final allocation of the amount earned through the Ghana Norway Partnership means that this year will see the first phase of that pioneering and historic LCDS draw to a close. It also means that Guyana can now pivot away from catching up and repairing damage catching up and repairing damage done during those very last years. And instead we can refocus to a vision for the future. In line with that goal of focusing on the future, sir. His excellency, the president launched in October twenty twenty-one, the updated and expanded low carbon development strategy. The LCDS 2030. This has as it has its core four objectives. First, integrating as far as climate services with emerging global carbon markets. Second, supporting Guyana’s economic transformation through cleaner and cheaper energy. And this is a subject to which I will return shortly. Third, investing in adaptation to climate change and building resilience. So that the extreme impact of floods, droughts, and other other weather events can be lessened in the future. And fourth contributing to the global effort to address climate change and biodiversity loss. Both in terms of managing our natural resources responsibly including our forest resources, as integration with carbon markets advances, and also in relation to management of our oil and gas sector.Mister speaker, underpinning the entire draft LCDS 2030 is the need for it to be responsive or is the objective and commit and the the conviction that we have that it must be responsive to the needs of all Guyanese. This is why the strategy is currently undergoing a national consultation. And already hundreds of persons have taken part in the consultation. with many more contributions anticipated in the weeks ahead. The feedback received in the consultation will lead to the preparation of the final LCDS 2030. Which will then be tabled in this very house. And at that point sir the financing modalities for transitioning away from Griff. While Guyana integrates with carbon markets will be fully specified. Mister speaker, I now turn To the first amongst our major strategic objective, one of our major strategic objectives. A diversified, resilient, and competitive productive sector. The oil and gas sector. Mister speaker, as a new oil and gas producer, and as the country with the 17th largest oil resorts in the world to date. The oil and gas sector promises to be the driver of historically high levels of growth in the Guyanese economy. With strong spill over us in the non-oil economy This is already observed in our economic performance over the last two years. And the external environment remains supportive with demand for oil anticipated to exceed pre-pandemic levels in twenty twenty-two. And to maintain a very positive outlook. Going forward. ongoing exploration activities have continued to yield positive results with 28 commercially viable oil discoveries to date in the block and an estimated recoverable resource of over $10 billion oil equivalent barrels merely 6 years after first discovery. the stab work block currently has three identified production areas. Liza one, Liza two and Tayara. production capacity is currently at a hundred and 000 barrels per day with Eliza Destiny, FPSO in operation. They’re coming into operation of the Eliza Unity FPSO which arrived in Guyanese waters in October twenty twenty-one and which will come into operation early in twenty twenty-two. will raise capacity to three hundred and forty barrels per day. and the deployment of the Liza Prosperity FPSO. Which is currently under construction. And which is expected to commence product operation and production in 20 twenty-4. Will further raise capacity to five hundred and 60 thousand barrels per day. Mister speaker, with the anticipated fourth production area, Yellowtail, estimates are poised to reach eight hundred 000 barrels per day by two twenty 2-6, 2027. Wow And additional developments under consideration could see us reaching six FPSOs producing one million barrels per day by twenty thirty. That’s it. Go Mister speaker, additionally The current estimate of the gas reserve is sixteen 16 trillion cubic feet With projections from Liza one and Liza two likely at 50 million standard cubic feet per day. Payara will bring additional reserves. Mister speaker, this August extremely well for the gas to energy project that I will shortly discuss. Mister speaker, in the third, meanwhile I should add as development works continue on Payara, and Yellowtail, and the exploration program, the operators in the culture and Kanji blocks also advanced their exploration programs in twenty twenty-one with additional wells likely to come online in the last quarter of twenty twenty-two. Exploration activities will also continue in the Kanukula. Mister speaker, in the third quarter of this year, our government will be holding auctions and bidding rounds for available acreages. option for additional for additional available acreages offshore. This will be done in an open and competitive manner as we has as we have often said which will allow for a more marketable approach to Ghana’s resource development. And at the same time bring financial gains to our country. Meanwhile sir, the legal and institutional framework to govern the sector has also undergone significant strengthening since we assumed office. Mister speaker, the historic local content act 20 21 was enacted just last month. We started work on this. It would be recalled sir. As soon as we assumed office. In striking and stark contrast, sir, to those who occupy in office for 5 years. And did absolutely nothing.Absolutely. Those very last years, sir, did absolutely nothing to bring local content legislation to the parliament. Mister speaker, the new local content law a remarks forty sectors or services, groups of or categories of services and stipulates a minimum percentage of the total value of expenditure on those services. That oil companies and their contractors must procure from Guyanese suppliers. And in some cases, those percentages are quite high. What this mean sir is that it creates a an abundance of business opportunities for Guyanese companies and Guyanese nationals. That sir is the direct result of our local content act. That axle provides an enabling framework for the development and expansion of Guyanese companies. And it articulates a supportive administrative structure including the establishment of a local content secretariat And indeed sir, I’m pleased to report on behalf of my distinguished colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, that work is already significantly advanced on the establishment of that secretariat. The local content secretariat on its establishment will introduce local content registers on which Guyanese companies and Guyanese nationals can register. And flowing from that will be business and employment opportunities. Importantly the local content act includes requirements in relation to capacity development. Recognizing the importance of building local capacity to participate in opportunities Relatively so and returning to a matter to which I mentioned earlier. In order to ensure sound management of the revenues from our oil and gas sector. We repealed or dishonorable house rather repealed the highly deficient natural resource fund act of 2019. Have to do it. It would be recalled sir that that act was forced through this National Assembly after the APNU AFC government had lost a no confidence motion. But beyond that fundamental defect that would have risen. beyond the fundamental defect that would have arisen from the timing with which that act was considered by this house. The contents of that act Also reflected very significant and indeed fatal deficiencies. I will mention sir some of these and I will speak of how they were repaired. They included the most offensive and egregious of deficiencies included. Fundamental weaknesses in the governance arrangements. Including a high concentration of powers. Indeed a high is perhaps a mild word. A full concentration of powers and responsibilities in the hands of the Minister of Finance. the comple te absence of a board or direct of directors or any similar governing body as is explicitly required by the Santiago principles. A blatant lack of transparency including an opaque and unnecessarily complicated formula for determining the ceiling on withdrawals from the fund. And which was open to manipulation by the Minister of Finance. Because the minister determined the economically sustainable amount. And the fiscally sustainable amount. subject, subject entirely to the capris of the Minister of Finance. Whims and Francis. but disguise sir. Disguise sir. Disguised behind the cloak of elaborate structures, multiple committees, and a formula that is yet to be deciphered by any of the commentators on this on this matter.Hiding behind a veneer of sophistication. Concealing the mischief behind a veneer of sophistication. In addition, sales act 2019 act allowed for expenditure to be met directly from that act without prior approval of the parliament. It referred to all manner of expenditure that could be a direct charge on the fund. Without coming to the parliament for prior approval. We sir have repaired all of those. One of those defects sir would have been fatal. But they are many in number. We repair them sorrow Why are not casting out in its entirety, the twenty twenty act? We endeavored our very best to retain some parts of the act. But we repaired the most offensive sections. We scaled back. The excessive powers of the Minister of finance. We established the board of directors for the first time. Yep. We vested in that board the powers that were previously concentrated. In the hands of the minister. We removed the possibility of any expenditure from the fund being met without prior parliamentary approval. Hence we are coming today. We strengthen transparency by requiring publication and parliamentary tabling of notification of every single receipt into the fund.Mister speaker, these amendments constitute major improvements to the framework for managing the revenues for our oil and gas sector. and it is within that context sir and against that background that budget twenty twenty-two now proposes to deploy these resources in the cause of national of national development Mister speaker, beyond oil and gas, other extractives gold, backside, sand, stone, and other minerals will be major contributors to Guyana’s economy going forward. Our government recognizes the critical role of the mining sector in the economy. And we will continue to invest in and promote the expansion of the sector. We remain mindful of the challenges and vulnerabilities that the sector faced during the 2021 floods. And we remain firmly committed. To working with the sector to overcome those challenges. Mister speaker, in 2021, the gold mining sub sector represented 8. 8% of our GDP, the third largest non-oil sector in our economy. And importantly sir, and importantly, more than 60 percent of our total non-oil export earnings such as the importance of the gold sector. the vision for gold mining lies with the continued support for exploration to uncover new discoveries that can potentially transition to mining projects. At a strategic level, more focus is being placed on deriving efficiency from the mineral recovery phase of the small and medium scale miners. in order to help to promote sustainability Mister speaker, significant growth can be expected from this sub sector going forward. not just from the small and medium scale operators but also suffer from the prospect of large scale operators commencing their operations. They also and we have at least two probably three large scale operators who will be coming fully on stream in the medium term.And who will indeed be constructing in due course underground mines for the first time in Guyana’s history. a karoni for example While production will be paused this year, the investor will be forging ahead with exploration and development of the underground prospect. Beyond this year, investment in the Toroparo area will finally result in long anticipated development of a full-fledged gold mine. Since an international mid tier gold company has confirmed their interest in this project. If I turn to backside sir having lost one major producer in twenty 20 As a result of the hostile investment in and here I refer of course to the pre-August twenty twenty period.Having lost one major producer in boxite as a result of the hostile investment environment at the time. Rusal in the Burbese River. Boxite mining continued with only two operator, two major operators. The larger of the two operating in Linden has in place plans to expand investment in twenty twenty-two with an estimated outlay of 60 million US dollars in capital investments. And we will continue to work closely with this operator and the other to encourage their investment to ensure that it occurs in a timely manner and to ensure that oxide resumes its rightful place in the Guyanese economic landscape. Sand and stone. Mister speaker, with the construction boom. That is underway. Particularly pertaining to the rapid expansion in housing and road projects.The development and expansion of the other mining and quarrying sub sector is crucial. This expansion has the potential of lowering of increasing production volumes. And lowering construction costs. Since the abundance of local readily available resources could ease the impact of imported price pressure on the cost of key construction materials. We have the sand and we have the stone available in Guyana for mining. Yep. Mister speaker, in 2021, there were five new permits granted for sand and loam that covered some five hundred and twenty-five acres. The acreage of the plots range between 25 and 283 acres and production is expected to expand significantly in 2022 and beyond. Critically, 2022 will see attention focused on ensuring beneficial occupation. beneficial occupation of the sand bearing properties along the Linden Suicide, the suicide to Linden Highway.And I suspect this is a matter that my distinguished colleague the minister of natural resources will elaborate on when he speaks. on on quarry production Private investment in the sector will bring significant growth in output in twenty twenty-two. Currently there are seven active stone quarries. Three in Mazaroni, two in and one each in the Quarantine River and the North West District. In twenty twenty-one, 11 party licenses were issued to new applicants. Covering thirty thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven acres with each having a productive capacity of between one hundred and 50 thousand and two hundred thousand metric tons per year. Most of those new quarries are expected to come on stream by the end of twenty twenty-two. Indeed, we are short, sir. That many are likely to come on stream way before. Manganese Mister speaker, the Manganese operation in Matthews Ridge was granted its environmental permit and mining license along with the approval of the mine plan.The project investment is pegged at $75 million US dollars. And the annual production and shipment of manganese or concentrates is targeted at 500, 000 metric tons annually. The first shipment of manganese is slated for March this year from Port Kaituma. I turn now sir to forestry. Mister speaker, our government is all is committed as I indicated earlier to ensuring the sustainability of the forestry sector. Consistent with our new low carbon development strategy. As already discussed also the sector’s performance was affected by recent floods. Beyond the recovery from those floods, sir, the adjusted national log export policy has allowed for the rebound of Timber exports including in the in medium-range species. Phase two of the National Forest Inventory for which we voted resources last year to conduct that inventory was successfully completed for regions 2, 3, 6, and 10.At a cost of $250 million dollars approved by this very house in last year’s budget. This will allow improved cost effectiveness in the resource extraction and more efficient management of the concessions. Mister Speaker, in support of continued growth in the sector, we anticipate this year the conversion of three large concessions. Equivalent to 1. 5 million acres which will result in an additional 30, 000 cubic meters of logs in 2022. And approximately 50, 000 cubic meters of logs annually for the next four years. In addition, 50 new small concessions of a combined 150, 000 acres will be allocated. Resulting in a further 20, 000 cubic meters of logs. In 2023, we project we project allocate another 500, 000 acres, with an estimated production output of 30 to 40, 000 cubic meters of logs. Mister speaker, in the area of expanding the local value chain for wood products, we have been exploring market opportunities for export of lumber to Barbados, and other markets such as Ghana, and we have identified, in fact, a market for prefab products in Ghana. In fact, in relation to the latter initiative, one and 20 prefab houses will be manufactured using local wood and exported to Ghana later this year. we seek SAR to secure long-term relationships with all of these new and potential markets. And we will continue to work very closely with the sector with a view to identifying more markets and promoting more value added production and export. Starting now sir, to agriculture and food security. As has been said on multiple occasions, agriculture will be a major anchor of Guyana’s non-oil economy. I alluded earlier to our responsibilities in relation to agriculture. And I mentioned the 25 by twenty-five agenda. This the region’s commitment to this agenda sir. Presents a golden opportunity for Guyana. To realize finally its potential. As the long heralded breadbasket of the Caribbean. our focus is on ramping up domestic production promoting agro processing and developing agro processing capabilities working with the region to remove all historic barriers and impediments to interregional trade.Including some of the transport and logistics constraints. And promote promoting more widely agribusiness and complete transformation of regional food systems. on the domestic front focus will be placed on both traditional crops as well as new and emerging ones. Speaking of traditional crops, sir. This people’s progressive party, governments, commitment to the sugar industry remains unwavering. Despite inheriting a devastating situation that was dominated by the callous shutdown of Three Sugar Estates. Since resuming office, our government has been proactive in focusing on reopening and recapitalizing the closed estates. Rationalizing cost structures, diversifying the sugar sales mix to maximize earnings, Re-engaging previously displaced workers, and reapers in the industry on a sustainable path to profitability. Since taking office in August twenty twenty, the focus has been on rehabilitation of assets and retooling of the estates. Looking ahead up until twenty twenty-two Strategic investments will be made at Albion, Bearmont, and IFlock to upgrade and mechanize where appropriate. And to expand packaging capabilities to produce more value added products. For our domestic and international markets. These investments will be undertaken with the ultimate objective of ensuring that each estate is able to to break evening.In the not too distant future. Mister speaker, in anticipation of improved production levels, Daisuco will be concentrating its marketing efforts on shifting from the low value vulture markets to more bagged and packaged sugar products. To this end, these products will increase from 34% in 2020 to 64% of total production in twenty twenty-two. I am pleased also sir to inform this honorable house that over one thousand three hundred persons have been reemployed with Kaisuk. one thousand three hundred persons who were callously and unconscionably. by the AP and UAFC government. Despite prior to 2015, making all manner of lofty promises to sugar workers came into government and promptly proceeded to close estates and put people out of work. So, one thousand three hundred of those persons have already and in addition, I believe Minister Mustafa is reminding me and prompting me correctly so to point out that more than 5, 000 persons also received from this government, a grant of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars so that they can start up a small business and earn a livelihood once again. Mister speaker, I am pleased to announce that in budget twenty twenty-two, this People’s Progressive Party Civic Government has allocated $6 billion dollars to support Kaisuko’s ongoing investment. In field and factory operations, to turn around the industry, while we continue to consider the possibility of engaging investors in some of the estates also. term mouser to rise. Rice remains a mainstay of our agriculture sector. Rice cultivation continues to be the main source of economic activity In many rural farming communities. We see rice maintaining and expanding its importance and increasing its contribution in the economy going forward. Our government’s immediate priority is to help our rice farmers recover from the aftermath of the twenty twenty-one floods. and then to continue to expand cultivation and production including more value added varieties and products. In 2022, a total of 185, 000 hectares. For cultivation, with plans to expand by 8, 000 hectares to by 2026.Focus in 2022 will see improved drainage and irrigation. To mitigate losses. expanded research on high new high yielding varieties and seed production In that regard, solid testing facilities were made available to farmers through the construction of a soil laboratory at the Burma Rice Research Station. And a value added laboratory for rice and rice products was completed. Mister speaker, I am pleased to announce that in twenty twenty-two GRDB will expand over $300 million dollars in plant breeding, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology and value added products as part of its research and development trust. An additional $20 million dollars is budgeted for the procurement of a seed dryer for Blackbush Polar which will benefit more than 600 farmers in the area.In addition, a mini testing mill or polisher will be acquired to analyze the quality of cargo rice and paddy. in anticipation of expanded production, 6 drying floors. In regions two, three, five, and six were constructed in 20 twenty-one And this year, two additional drying floors will be added in regions three and four. More of us are efforts to secure new markets will continue with the British Virgin Islands, Estonia, and Slovenia secured recently. Mister speaker, I turn now to a new and emerging crop whose introduction was piloted by an advocated most strenuously by known as a person than his excellency, the president.I refer here to the corn and project. Mister speaker, historically, our livestock feed supplies have largely been imported. With our poultry industry consuming approximately one hundred and 000 tons annually. Given that livestock feeds typically comprise 60% corn and rice and 30% soybeans. The recent global global supply chain problems have transmitted this vulnerability to our domestic food chain. Anticipated increase in demands for poultry and we heard of how rapidly poultry meat production has still has already been growing. Anticipated increases in demand for poultry and other livestock as our economy grows. And as the demand for food supplies expand. led to a strategic decision by our government.In 2021 to support the local private sector in a trial cultivation of approximately 200 acres of corn and soya bean. Our government took the initiative to rehabilitate 47 kilometers of a vital farm to market road. The Takama Road which will open up approximately sixty-one 000 hectares of pile farmland. in the Takama, Wiruni, and Ibini savanas on the eastern side of the Barbies River. Mister speaker, I am pleased to report that the success of this trial has led to a decision by the private consortium to increase the two thousand seven hundred acres for commercial trials in 20 twenty-two. This will result in 1500 tons of soybean and 3, 000 tons of corn being harvested in the second half of this year. Right here. in Guyana. with the anticipated success of the commercial trial. Cultivation is expected to ramp up to twelvethousand 500 acres in 2023. 25, thousand acres in 2025. And 50. And 56, 000 acres in 2028. And Minister Mustafa perhaps has more up to date information and will tell us when he speaks that the acreage will be even greater. To this end sir, 1 0 2 million dollars was expanded in twenty 2one on a further four hundred and twenty-six million budgeted in 2022 to complete that road. Further, required storage for anticipated harvests, saw approximately two hundred and thirty-six million dollars committed to procure a drying and storage facility. With an additional $225 million dollars budgeted in 2022 for the additional works and installation. Mister speaker, this initiative sets the stage for large scale cultivation of corn and soya bean and related agrobusiness development in the Takama area. I turned sir to another new and exciting well perhaps not so new but exciting on a commercial scale. A product that is not new. But from the point of view of commercial production can perhaps be regarded as new or large scale production and I refer here to coconuts. Mister speaker, in support of the expanding market for coconut water and coconut based products. Our government has allocated $66 million dollars in 2022. This allocation will support the expansion of coconut cultivation and production With decentralized and strengthened services to farmers. The establishment of three additional nurseries at Hosorero, Fort Wellington and Letem.Bringing it total of decentralized nurseries to nine across Guyana. And importantly sir, the expansion of seedling production to 36, 000 in 2022. The production of value added products such as coconut fiber, from coconut waste, will also commence in the Pomeroon and will be used for soil, for for purposes of soil, enhancement. Mister speaker, having recognized the growing markets for high-value produce. coupled with the need to provide employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and especially for young people trained in agricultural science and related areas. A sum of $100 million dollars is allocated to a newly launched agriculture and innovation entrepreneurship program. And mister speaker, many of us had the privilege of participating in an event right here. In this room, when his excellency, the president, launched that initiative in the presence and in the company of those young people. Work indeed has already started and I have had the privilege of seeing the evidence of some of that work led by ministers, minister Mustafa’s ministry.The first phase will see the construction of 25 shared houses for high-value crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. With over 300 shade houses slated for the medium term. Mister speaker And these are young Guyanese people. In fact, these are young graduates of the Guyana School of Agriculture. Young Guyanese graduates of the Guyana School of Agriculture. Mister speaker, It is recognized that government’s intervention in the agro processing industry is critical for business viability and the development of private sector capacity in post harvest options. To this end in twenty twenty-one we established a one-stop agribusiness incubator and coal storage and agro processing facilities. All of which are interventions that will improve value added in the agriculture In 2022 The Guyana Marketing Corporation under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture is aiming to decentralize the one-stop agribusiness incubators in regions three, five, nine, and 10 in areas such as Parica, Fort Wellington, Saint Ignatius, and Watuka.The sum of 96. 5 million dollars has been allocated in budget 2022 to equip the Sapphire Parika and Mabaruma Agro processing and packaging facilities. These facilities along with supportive market research will assist producers in meeting the international market protocols for their products and enable access to new markets. I turn now sir to livestock. In response to the floods last year, government provided cash grants totaling four hundred21 million dollars to livestock farmers and distributed seventy-one thousand five hundred and ninety-four breeding stock. To be followed by another eighty thousand 104. Government also provided technical support to assist with recovery of the sector. And we will continue to focus. on the recovery of the industry and help farmers build resilience in a specially vulnerable situations. This include initiatives such as prioritizing the relocation of vulnerable farms and providing supporters appropriate, constructing refuge mounds for animal shelter in the pastures, improving feed conservation, establishing alternative holding areas for disasters as part of an approved emergency plan. Storing addict veterinary supplies and formalizing the the disaster risk management unit With dedicated staff and resources to work on mitigation, adaptation, and response to different types of hazards. The floods of twenty twenty-one, illustrated to us very clearly the value of interventions such as these.In twenty twenty-two, we will partner with the private sector to develop a modular swine abattoir. A of Eden. To expand the production of pork and pork product. This facility will encompass better standardized production systems and bio security and will benefit over 600 farmers. In addition, sir, we will facilitate the establishment of a modern abattoir at for beef and beef products which is expected to be completed in 2023. Mister speaker, to achieve all these objectives and more Budget 2022 provides $977. 3 million dollars for livestock development in twenty twenty-two. fisheries and aquaculture The fishing industry has been going through challenging times. Despite its credible, creditable, despite its creditable performance in 2021. Our government has been working closely with the sector to help the sector to overcome those challenges. In this regard, we facilitated the creation of an aquaculture committee and we rolled out a program to promote improvement of blackish water shrimp production on the quarantine coast. That program is already underway. Currently in its first phase, this project provided for the rehabilitation of 23 shrimp farms in region six. Resulting in higher shrimp production in this category in 2021 compared to 2020. Mister speaker, our government will continue to support the livelihood of fishermen. Yeah. In twenty 22, two hundred and thirty million dollars is budgeted for the second phase of the brackish water shrimp production initiative. And those two phases are expected to raise aquaculture production by over three hundred percent. Moving backish water shrimp production to five 00 kilograms per annum. If that were not enough, sir. In twenty twenty-2, we will pioneer an innovative solution new to Guyana. to promote important and valuable alternative production modalities for Guyana’s fisherfolk. Here sir, I refer to an allocation of $200 million dollars in budget 2022 to introduce and develop marine cage fishing.Which will enhance the production of plants and tilapia on coastal Guyana. I just want to be Additionally so we will continue to improve the supportive infrastructure for the fisheries industry. In 2022, the greenhouse at the aquaculture station will be upgraded for the promotion of aquaponics. As a climate spark option for food production. Research will also be undertaken in indigenous high value species. And the use of low content, low cost, low cost feed ingredients into aqua feed development. Mister speaker in total for the promotion of the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Budget 2022 provides 743. 7 million dollars. drainage and irrigation. The importance of our drainage and irrigation infrastructure not only to productive activity but also to the for the well being of residents is well known. We will continue to strengthen the DNI network across all regions. In 2022, over $1 billion dollars is budgeted to procure 37 new mobile pumps. to be installed across the coast in regions two, three, four, five, and six. In areas identified to be especially vulnerable to flooding. We will also purchase 100 tractor driven pumps. to be utilized in all coastal regions. the These will be complemented by the construction and rehabilitation of pump stations at canal number one.Charity and closure. Which will drain it which will which will benefit over nine thousand 500 acres of coastal farmlands. These interventions along with the development of drainage improvement in the in the area will benefit over thirty-six thousand three hundred acres of farmland. Mister speaker, in 2022, we have budgeted $13 billion dollars to upgrade DNI systems. I turn now to sustainable tourism. Mr. Speaker, like so many other sectors of activity, the trajectory of the tourism sector worldwide remains heavily dependent. on the evolution of the pandemic. According to the World Tourism Organization, a return to 20 19 levels of international arrivals could take anywhere from 2.5 to and a half or four to four years. in striking contrast with this global trend, this global circumstance. Guyana’s tourism industry is facing its brightest prospects ever. Visit our rivals. increased by 52percent in 2021 to 131, 381. Indeed, indeed during a continuing and pervasive pandemic. Mister speaker, amongst other things, this reflects the captive business traveler, resident expatriate, market, as well as the very resilient diaspora market. We remain very loyal to Guyana and very attached to Guyana. Mister speaker, to prepare for the heightened interest in Gayan. And the gradual but hopefully early return to pre-pandemic levels of visitors. Large investments in accommodation are already underway. This year, an additional 200 rooms will become available with the anticipated completion of the Pegasus Suites and Corporate Center. An additional three internationally branded hotels are already under construction with an additional 4 85 rooms. Furthermore, approximately eight additional hotels are expected to commence construction later this year. They will increase the room stock by a further nine hundred and ninety-five rooms once completed. And I might add sir that amongst these are several global brands. Such as the Marriott and the Hyatt Place. All signalling their confidence and optimism in the new Guyana. When completed This pipeline of privately invested projects would add a further two thousand one hundred and eighty hotel rooms to the stock by 2025. If not more. Additionally, in support of the enhancement and expansion of the eco-tourism product, our government recently invited expressions of interest for the establishment of even more eco lodges and resorts.That we expect sir will lead to tremendous future private investment in that sub sector. At the same time, our efforts to facilitate increased airlift capacity. Continue a pace. In the inter Caribbean Airways, began operations to Barbados last December. And it is expected in the medium term to add about 30, 000 seats annually. This will allow for convenient connections to the Caribbean and Europe. In January twenty twenty-two, Aruba Airlines and Trans Guyana Airways resume their services to Cuba via Aruba and to Boa Vista. Additionally, Fly always is expected to commence flights between Guyana and Cuba with an additional two thousand and sixteen seats weekly being added to the market. All to increased connectivity with between Guyana and the rest of the world and increased airlift into Guyana. Apart from this discussions are ongoing with a number of other major international and regional airlines on the possibility of introducing service to either of Guyana’s two international airports. Meanwhile, Sir, Destination Guyana continues to attract mainstream attention and coverage. and we continue to seize every available opportunity to market and showcase our product. We leverage key international venues to showcase GAN including our participation at the Dubai Expo 20twenty. Additionally in 2021, Guyana was showcased in several major industry publications including Wanderlust Magazine, Condenast, Traveler, and Ford’s top 50 best places to visit post pandemic filling all of us as Guyanese with a burst of pride. Mister speaker, looking ahead. Strong emphasis will be devoted to human resource development in the sector. Work has begun on the design of the new tourism and hospitality institute. As well as the preparation of draft curriculum. And construction is anticipated to commence this year. Additionally, we have secured a partnership with the government of Barbados arising out of a visit by his excellency, the president, two barbers, where he was accompanied by the distinguished minister of tourism.And onto that initiative, over 6 000 Guyanese nationals will be trained in various areas within the hospitality sector. At the same time sir, we continue to explore technical exchanges and cooperation with our counterparts internationally all with the aim of promoting Guyana. as a destination for tourism. I turn now sir to information on communications technology. It would be recalled that one of the first actions taken by his excellency the president upon assuming office on the second of August 2020. Was to bring into operation the new telecommunications act. that had the immediate consequence of liberalizing the telecommunication sector. and mister speaker recognizing as we did then, the vast, transformative potential of the telecommunication sector, returns have already started to be, to manifest themselves. We already see fiber optic cables, sir. Laid to a secret Across the river. All the way to charity For the very first time. new cables are being laid, sir all the way to and all the way to Linden by private investors. additionally and as a consequence, we have supported and facilitated the growth of the business process outsourcing sector, the BPO as I would appreciate it, the BPO industry, and I hear so sorry to inform this house that this BPO sector which prior to twenty fifteen, our government had invested significant effort in nurturing the sector. First and foremost, in attracting international operators to Guyana, in promoting Guyana as a destination for BPO investment, and in supporting the sector in growing its operations. Cast into the wilderness over the last five years, sir. We returned to office to find a sector completely in the doldrums.In the doldrum. Disengaged, unengaged, and abandoned. We resumed our engagement with the sector, sir. Working closely with them, encouraging their expansion, particularly recognizing the job, their labor intensive nature of their operation and I am pleased to report now sir that the BPO sector has created between August 2020 and the end of twenty twenty-one no less than one thousand 131 jobs. Sir, sir. It is opposite to God, sir. and to cite the example of the call center in Linden which had existed under a partnership between government and a private operator and which for reasons are known and and when I say which I refer here of course to the investor, the investor for reasons are known had to close up shop. Shortly after 2015 Those of shop putting more than 100 young Londoners out of work. with no effort made to protect and preserve that investment with no regard for the jobs that that investor had created for young Londoners. Immediately on our immediately on our return to officer, we identified a strategic investor and in this case, a strategic Guyanese investor, I’m proud to say, young Guyanese person. re-engage or engage rather with this investor on resuscitating that call center. And sir, I am pleased to report. That within the space of months, the call center in Linden was reopened. Today, today saw that call center employees one hundred and twenty-five persons. Going to work every day. And earning an income every day in Linden and that call center service poised to employ within the first half of twenty twenty-two, another 100. So that’s going to be two hundred and twenty-five if not more. 225, if not more, young people in in Linden and by extension, families in Linden who now have an income. So in addition, we will continue to emphasize improving ICT literacy. So that the employability and productivity of our population are improved. In 2021 alone, over 1300 young people benefited from training. In areas ranging from word processing to robotics to networking and programming. This year sir, we are targeting to train more than three thousand persons no less than three 000 persons on various subdisciplines within the information and communications technology space. small business support. Mister speaker, small businesses have the potential to strengthen, strengthen communities, local economies, and the economy as a whole. We have seen this in our own communities throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. For this reason, have always supported and will continue to support small businesses through various initiatives including small business development grants, training opportunities, and incubator centers. Mister speaker, in 2021, the Small Business Bureau successfully distributed seven hundred and forty-six small business development grants at a value of three hundred and twenty-nine million dollars. Mister speaker, we also introduce the country’s first ever small business one-stop shop in Region two which rendered assistance to 111 persons, helping them to register their business, helping them to secure NIS compliance, and help helping them with all of the other startup processes that are associated with establishing a business.Mister speaker, I am pleased to announce that in twenty twenty-two, the budget provides $300 million dollars for the replenishment of the Small Business Development Fund. That represents our $300 million dollars that will be going to small businesses in Guyana through the Small Business Bureau. For the most our training will be provided to small business owners in areas including business management, record keeping, business plan, writing, amongst others. All of which will enhance the capacity of small business owners to effectively develop and manage their businesses.We will also establish and work has already commenced to establish an E commerce market place, sir. For small businesses to market goods and services. Using technology using the internet. Which will no doubt help to support their resilience, avoid them necessarily having to have a physical ah ah shop. Where their products and services can be accessed. And of course helping to maintain and increase revenue. Mister speaker as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance small business support. Six small business one stop shops. Across regions one, five, six six, seven, eight, and nine will be held in twenty twenty-two. And we will also continue our efforts to improve the ease of doing business And to assist small businesses in navigating the processes. Making those processes simpler. And they’re helping businesses to navigate the processes. To license and establish their business. On that note sir the question of improving the ease of doing business. The design of an electronic single window for trade will commence in twenty twenty-two. This initiative will result in the development and deployment of a single entry point to fulfill all trade related transactions. Bringing together all of the agencies involved in trade transactions including foremost amongst which would be the Gyana revenue authority but of course there are other agencies all involved licensing and permitting depending on the nature of item being traded. This single window will bring together all of the agencies involved in trade transactions and facilitate a single, easy, efficient, and technology-based solution. sir. Concomitantly. We are currently undergoing a comprehensive review of the business processes related not only to trade transactions but other aspects of citizen and business interaction with the state, with the government. With a view to mapping those processes out, identifying ways of simplifying them and making them more efficiently and making them more citizen and client friendly. That work, Mister Speaker, has already commenced. On the question sir of establishing of businesses and access to industrial estates. A matter that I know is of great interest to the private sector. a sum of $245 million dollars has been budgeted this year to facilitate the establishment of new industrial estates in regions two and 10. This this incubator centres will be operationalized this year at Letham and Belvedere where to we have two estates. These will have 16 pods combined between them. And these pods will provide access to shared like manufacturing facilities, operational space, and training and coaching suitable for small businesses. They will also allow for small businesses to produce value added agricultural products. Including things like coconut oil, indigenous flour, and processed fruits. Mister speaker, furthermore, to assure confidence in our private sector and locally produced goods and services a national standard strategy for the development of priority standards will be pursued in consultation with stakeholders. In addition, we are examining the establishment of a traceability system which would address trade barrier issues to the benefit of our growing private sector. And we expect also this year work to be advanced on the construction of a new laboratory at the Ghana Bureau of Standards. Under the National Quality Infrastructure Project. Mister speaker, I turn now to that other major priority of our government. They build out and I see minister Ejil has returned right on queue.Here. The build out of transformational infrastructure. Energy, expansion, and diversification. Mister speaker, inadequate unreliable costly, and environmentally unfriendly energy has been the bane of Guyana’s industrial development as well, as of our citizen’s daily existence, for as long as any of us can remember. as has often been said hydro power project not been derailed by those on the other side of this honorable house. That project would have been meeting the needs of the national grid today. Right now. Right now These are the the time for fixing this problem is overdue. Mister speaker, following a public expression of interest in September twenty twenty-one, Our government issued an advertisement for the pre-qualification of firms interested in the transformational gas to energy project recognizing the potential of natural gas as a transition fuel.This project will allow us to phase out the use of expensive heavy fuel oil, and is targeted to reduce costs substantially below the current level. This project encompasses the establishment of a power plant at the Wales Development Authority to generate 300 megawatts of power as well as a natural gas liquids plant that will cover domestic demand. This project also entails the construction of a 225 kilometer 12 inch pipeline to transport the gas from offshore Guyana to Wales. ongoing geotechnical and geophysical works for both offshore and onshore operations are advancing. With some portions already completed. An environmental and social impact assessment is expected to be completed by early second quarter twenty twenty-two. Utilizing a transparent procurement process it is expected that the firm selected would be able to engineer, procure, and construct the power plant and the natural gas liquids plant along with related facilities Mister speaker, construction is expected to commence in the third quarter of twenty twenty-two. And will be completed by the fourth quarter of 202-four. Mister speaker, regarding renewable and low-carbon energy, our most promising venture continues to be the Amala Falls Hydro Power Project which incidentally was confirmed by a report produced by the International Consulting Firm Nor Consult who were recruited by the APNU AFC shortly after the assumed office in 2015.Not withstanding nor consults report. Endorsing Falls project. That report was put aside and the project was killed. Mister speaker, we have requested, received an evaluated proposals for this project. Negotiations are already underway with the highest ranked company which is an experienced international company. The project will be developed under a build, own, operate, transfer arrangement. Within which the Gyana Power and Light, Inc, GPL will purchase power from the operator under a power purchase agreement. speaker in relation to this project, we anticipate construction will also begin in twenty twenty-two. Once operationalized, this facility and the power plant at Wales will dramatically reduce the cost of energy for both businesses and households. At the same time sir, we have already advanced the process for construction of a 1. 5 megawatt hydro power plant at Kumu. for rehabilitation of the Makamaka Hydro Plant. In region 9, indeed sir, for the, for that purpose, for the purpose of purposes of those two plans, over $600 million dollars, is budgeted in twenty twenty-two. Additionally, sir, we’ve budgeted more than $170 million dollars for the completion of the hydropower scheme at Kato. and for the thirty thousand PV home systems for Hinterland and River Rain areas. These solar mini grid and off grid solutions remain our most viable options to ensure unserved and underserved Hinterland regions. Are energized. Mister speaker one point one billion dollars is budgeted for solar farm interventions in twenty twenty-two. These include completion of the farmer Bartika, 1. 21. 5 megawatts, 3/ 4 megawatt, of and one megawatt at leg one. At letter, my apologies. We will also tender for a 0. 6 megawatt form at leg one and a zero point 65 megawatt form at Madia. this year. Over 4 50 million dollars has been budgeted to expand and upgrade the Hinterland electrification and power generation capacity. Mister speaker, regarding GPL, we have successfully supported the the rehabilitation of over 6 00 kilometers of medium and low voltage, low voltage distribution, minimum medium slash low voltage distribution network.We’ve also implemented a transformer module in GPL’s customer information system. both interventions will help to better manage electricity loss in the grid. Mister speaker, in 2022, 1. 6 billion dollars is budgeted for the construction of a parallel transmission line. Linking the Kingston and the new Sapphire substations. The upgrade of the existing L5 transmission line. And other works aimed at in reducing transmission losses and maintaining desired system voltage levels. Meanwhile sir, the necessary studies that are required to prepare GPL’s transmission and distribution network to offtake the that will be supplied by whales and by a miler. That necessary technical work has already been initiated. And we we expect Seoul that that will include once ultimately implemented. It will include the introduction of a smart grid. replacing GPL’s existing grid with a smart grid. Mister speaker, with the aim of advancing the transition With the aim of advancing the transition to cleaner sources of energy. While ensuring that we meet the growing demand for electricity and reduce the cost of electricity by at least fifty percent over the next five years. Budget 2022 allocates $29 billion dollars to the energy sector. Major allocations within this amount include 20. 8 billion dollars for the gas to energy project. And one point four billion dollars for the 33 megawatt solar farms for Burbese, Esikubo, and Linden. Transport infrastructure. Mister speaker, our government is committed to implementing an integrated national infrastructure development program. Improving international connectivity, hemispheric connectivity, regional connectivity, creating and strengthening communication linkages between and amongst our major urban rural Hinterland, inland centers. and prioritizing farm to market access to promote increased production and reduce the cost of production as well as improving trade and competitiveness. Mister speaker, Budget 20 22 allocates a sum of $76. 7 billion dollars for roads and bridges. of that some 49. 2 billion will be spent on roads and twenty-seven point five billion on bridges. In relation to roads. Key allocations include provisions of eight 3 billion for the rehabilitation of the quarantine main road from Palmyra to Crabo Creek. 6 billion for the construction of the Linden to Mabura Rohill Road. 3. 4 billion for Hinterland Roads. Two. 6 billion for the rehabilitation of the entire suicide to Linden Highway. Two point three for the East Bank to East Coast Damarawa Road between Ogle to Eccles.1. 1 billion to complete Sheriff to Mandela. And in addition to that sir, $15. 2 billion dollars for the construction and rehabilitation of additional urban and community roads. Mister speaker, we recognize that one of the most severe irritants regarding the roads network right now is the congestion on the East Bank Demerara corridor. We have committed to resolving this. To this end, we have already constructed and operationalized a 3. 7 kilometer intercommunity road link between Maka Arcadia and Diamond.Additionally, a new fall in highway linking Mandela Avenue to Hydes Bosch is currently under construction and will be completed in the first quarter of twenty twenty-two. Construction of the four-lane Ogle to Hartsbush Road will also commence shortly. Creating another road access which will further reduce the chaos and congestion along these bank. Furthermore, sir, work will commence the widen and pave the East Bank Highway from Grove to Timeri. For which two point 1 billion dollars is allocated in twenty twenty-two. proprietary work has already has also been initiated in relation to the widening of the East Coast Highway from Annandale to Mahaika. The upgrade of the railway embankment from Shari Street to Orange Nasal and the construction of the new four-lane superhighway. From Squinard to Parica. Mister speaker, with respect to bridges 2 1. 1 billion dollars is allocated to advanced construction of the new fixed four lane high span Demerado River Bridge. Another nine hundred and forty-six million dollars has been budgeted to rehabilitate and maintain the existing floating bridge. Additionally, $4. 1 billion dollars, a sum of $4. 1 billion dollars is allocated for the and upgrade of several bridges along the Kurpukari to let them corridor. that will support the phased construction of the Linden to let them highway. In addition sir, another one hundred and seventy-three point nine million is budgeted for construction and rehabilitating now of reconstruction and rehabilitation and maintenance of bridges in a number of other areas. Mister speaker, another extremely important intervention included in budget 2022. Is an allocation of $3. 3 billion dollars to finance, improvement and enhancement of the aesthetics of the environment. Across major areas in our coast. With a particular focus sir on the capital city, it would be recalled that no lesser person than his excellency, the president himself, spearheaded a major cleanup campaign in Georgetown just over one week ago, I believe it was two weekends ago. turning to air transport In addition to work’s ongoing works of the Cherry Jagon International Airport. An amount of six hundred million dollars has been allocated for the rehabilitation and maintenance of Hintel and Air Strips. That’s right. Read on. At Ettering Bank, Carrie Sparrow, Parima, Ekiriku, Ekiriku Bottom. Mister speaker, these interventions are intended to make them compliant with minimum engineering standards to address issues related to safety of travelers, aircraft, and personal using those airstrips. Mister speaker, the air transport sector has been allocated in total $2 billion dollars. River transport. With the emerging oil and gas sector, the country’s river in transport activities have increased tremendously. This is particularly so in the Damarado River which is now host to several emerging show-based facilities and other ports. Catering to the oil and gas sector. in augmenting and supporting this new fast growing sector we have increased navigational safety through the acquisition and installation of navigational aids and guide vessels using our main waterways in Damara, Bobby Sarasikubo.A new pilot launch. was acquired. Steps have been taken to acquiring new pilot launch last year. I believe that is expected to be delivered during the course of this year. The Steven was rehabilitated And in addition to that, the sterling at Wakenham and sections of the were rehabilitated also. The rehabilitation of our ferry vessels which facilitate the traveling public. Is also of critical importance. To this end, we have allocated in twenty twenty-two. The sums of $2. 1 billion dollars for the construction of a new ocean going. Passenger and cargo vessel. Which replies the north west district route. another $562 million dollars for the docking of the Makoria, Savanto, and Kanawan. In addition, $456 million dollars has been budgeted for the continued rehabilitation of leg one, Fort Island, and Barti Castellings. Mister speaker, the new vessel for the north west district route is expected to be completed and operationalized in the second half of twenty twenty-two. Additionally, private investments are being encouraged to develop more facilities at the mouths of our main rivers To this end, two new oil and gas shore-based type facilities are expected to be constructed by private investors on the western side of the Amararo River. Additionally, at the mouth of the Burbese River, workers already commenced by private investors to construct a port facility there, also to to service our oil and gas sector. C, and river defense Mister speaker, much has already been said about our vulnerability to climate change. In twenty twenty-1, we expanded 4 7 billion dollars on the construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of defenses in various areas. In 2022, I’m pleased to inform this honorable house that budget 2020 budget for this year allocates a further $5 billion dollars. to strengthen Guyana’s flood protection infrastructure system through sea and river defense works. Again, in several areas. I turn now sir to health. Mister speaker, ensuring a modern world-class healthcare system is a paramount objective for our government. To this end, we will leverage existing and soon to be built new public health care facilities private investment in the sector, as well as public private partnership arrangements. all with the aim not only of meeting the needs of our citizens and residents but also to be able to offer medical treatment as an export service through medical tourism. Indeed sir, it was right here in the hallowed halls of this honorable house.That approval was granted for the human organ and tissue transplant act which establishes a modern framework for the donation and removal of organs and tissues for their use in regenerative medicine and other therapeutic purposes. Including I believe subject to correction by my distinguished colleague the Minister of Health. Including I believe gene and stem cell therapy. And the minister informs me that I am not mistaken.At the same time we continue to battle the most immediate challenges before us. Foremost amongst them of course the ongoing covid-19 reality. We will continue to manage the pandemic. Even as we prioritize investments to modernize the sector and improve service delivery. Mister speaker, to achieve these objectives amounts totaling $73. 2 billion dollars have been budgeted for the health sector. A total of 16. 1 billion has been budgeted to launch a major expansion in public healthcare facilities. Of the amount allocated $12. 4 billion dollars will be used for the design and construction of a major state of the art pediatric and maternal hospital. Upgrading of the rest of the regional hospitals. And the construction of six six, brand new, modern regional hospitals at Anna Regina, Tusham, Diamond, and More, Bath and number seventy-five village quarantine. These regional hospitals are expected to catapult healthcare delivery beyond the current levels provided by existing regional facilities. As well as reduce dramatically. The undue burden currently of referrals to the Georgetown Public Hospital. We’ve also budgeted $220 million dollars to retrofit and equip the festival city polyclinic.To provide services that will include X-ray, dental, laboratory and rehab services. Mister speaker, we have allocated a sum of $1 billion dollars to upgrade health centers across the region. aimed particularly at addressing those critical interventions that are needed to improve the patient and visitor experience. Mister speaker, also in budget twenty twenty-two, amounts totaling $2 billion dollars have been budgeted for medical and non-medical equipment. Of this amount, 3 59 point three million is earmarked for the GPHC. Which will allow for increased use of laparoscopic surgical techniques. Serving to improve surgical outcomes and reduce recovery time. And of course for the introduction of vascular surgery for the very first time. Mister speaker, as it relates to human resource capacity having placed 20 graduates in the health sector in twenty twenty-one, we will, we anticipate placing, here I speak of specialists in areas, including emergency, medicine, pediatrics, dentistry and others. We anticipate placing a further 70 in 2022. Follow them all and for the first time we will be training 40 biomedical technicians to support more effective maintenance of medical equipment across the country.Excellent. employment for another 40 young Guyanese. on chronic diseases sir. Despite the pandemic, we still manage to screen over 25, 000 persons in 2021 for major non-communicable diseases, chronic diseases. And we plan to continue and support strong early screening. In twenty twenty-2, we target screening of further 27, 000 persons. and in the specific area of diabetes, we have made significant progress towards the construction of a specialized diabetic clinic at Luzignan which will be completed this year and is intended to be a one-stop shop for diabetic patients.Once operationalized, this clinic will be able to provide specialist services including eye screening, diabetic wound care, and cardiovascular screening. In emergency medicine, sir, we will continue to equip and upgrade our emergency medical services program this year with the acquisition of two additional ambulances. Other priorities include, of course, mental health I spoke already of covid-19, maternal and child health. Mister speaker, in twenty twenty-2, we will be pursuing strengthened engagement and partnerships with traditional boss attendance, strengthening health facilities with related equipment, and expanding family planning services. We also anticipate that the maternal waiting homes at Maruca and Keton as well as the maternity ward at the New Amsterdam Hospital will be substantially completed this year.All of which are expect to improve maternal and child health. in the area of adolescent health to reduce adolescent pregnancies. Government will pursue the safe space initiative. In schools to facilitate peer interaction. and counselling as well as partner with local medical teams and community organizations to address comprehensive education in schools. Another initiative that will help to reduce unplanned pregnancies, the expansion of the contraceptive program which will benefit from an allocation of one hundred and fifty-four million dollars this year.Mister speaker, in support of adolescent health, budget twenty twenty to also provides an amount of $50 million dollars for the advancement of the program led by led by the distinguished leadership of the office of her excellency, the first lady on promotion of menstrual hygiene. Excellent. This program, sir, will benefit over 30, 000 adolescent girls. drugs, and medical supplies. Mister speaker, this government intends to eliminate We intend to eliminate incidences of drug shortages by 2023. Yeah, we gotta do it.We intend to eliminate. to that end Budget 2022 provides a total of seventeen 9 billion dollars to procure drugs and medical supplies for the sector. importantly though, our government has mandated urgent reforms in the supply chain management system across the sector. Including data-driven and technology-based solutions for quantification and monitoring of both inventory and need and use. An implementation of strengthened technology-based procurement systems. Mister speaker, I turn now to the education sector. a sector, sir Considering where Guyana is, in its development trajectory. Ensuring that we have an education system that delivers a modern, model, and adaptive learning experience. To all Guyanese, in the first instance, of school going age, Mister speaker, and then of course, to address issues of lifelong learning. Ensuring that we have a system that will will equip young and not so young Guyanese persons with the tools and skills that are needed to meet the needs of the Guyanese. The economy of tomorrow. Improved access. quality, Relevant are essential to raising Guyana’s human capital to the levels needed to advance and sustain the imminent transformative, economic, and social development. Mister speaker, in twenty twenty-one, We launched the new education strategic plan for the period to twenty twenty-five Presenting a vision for the sector. Aimed at providing opportunities for equitable access. to quality education, lifelong learning for all. articulating plans regarding curriculum reform, expansion of teacher training, constructing new schools, and establishing robust systems to take advantage The finite window to educate each generation. consistent with this vision an amounts totaling seventy four 4 billion dollars have been budgeted for the education sector. Improving school building infrastructure Mister speaker, in 2021, 5. 4 billion was spent on the construction expansion construction, extension, rehabilitation, and maintenance of educational facilities. In 2022, we have allocated a further six 6 billion dollars Towards the construction, rehabilitation, extension, and maintenance of our education facilities. This includes the commencement of construction of Prospect Secondary, reconstruction of North Rhinevelt and Northwest Secondary Schools, both destroyed by fire, Additionally, nursery schools at Hydroni, Haslington and a number of other locations are slated for construction. Mister speaker, in addition to that, the Cato and Technical Institute, the Linden Technical Institute, dormitory. the Keto Odomitry and the London Technical Institute dormitory will both be completed. Mister speaker, it is well known that the cash grant the childr en of school age, parents of parents of school, growing children, was callously discontinued During the 2015 to 2020 period We introduce, reintroduced, we reintroduced that cash grant in twenty twenty-one, as a result of which, one hundred and seventy-four thousand public school students received cash grants totaling 3.3 billion dollars. and we further extended that program to include private students, schools of private schools, students attending private schools rather, and another 15, 000 students attending private schools. Benefited to a total amount of two hundred and 8 billion dollars. I wish sir to address the matter of school feeding. To support access and student performance. Mister speaker, to address the nutritional intake of our children and improve their attentiveness, we will restructure and expand the national school feeding program. This will result in the breakfast, juice, and biscuit and hot meals programs being implemented in nine hundred and two coastal Hinterland and Riverin, nursery and primary schools.Mister speaker, the sum of $2 billion dollars has been allocated to implement this school feeding initiative in twenty twenty-two. We and it will benefit a total of eighty-five thousand seven hundred and seventy-three students. incorporating ICT in the education sector. Mister, mister speaker, the pandemic illustrated to us the importance and urgency of accelerated digital accelerated implementation of digital solutions in all that we do. In response sir, we will be equipping 300 primary school teachers and one hundred and twenty-five secondary school teachers with laptops and computing devices. Approximately one in approximately 11, 000 tablets and flash drives loaded with teaching materials will be provided to students at these levels. While the number of smart classrooms, we recall those smart classrooms. The number of smart classrooms will be expanded. This initiative sells budgeted at a total cost of two hundred and ninety-five point seven million dollars. In addition, sir, for the purposes of an strengthening school management and monitoring, for the first time, over two hundred and sixty schools will be monitored using the education, management, information system, which will allow enhanced monitoring and management and supervision of performance. Mister speaker, in 2020, still on 2022 on the subject of textbooks A sum of one 2 billion dollars is airmarked to procure textbooks. In addition, over $20 million dollars is budgeted to purchase two thousand microscience kits for an additional 100 primary schools which will allow one 00 primary school coverage. reform ing teacher training Mister speaker, in 2021, the Cyril Potter College of Education recorded its largest enrollment of over three thousand students.This was facilitated through a new blended approach of online and in-person delivery of teacher training at a cost of five hundred and fifty-six million dollars. The initiative served to advance government’s objective of improving the quantity and quality of trained teachers in our schools. Mister speaker, in addition, or rather an additional five hundred and eleven trained teachers were added to the sector in the twenty twenty-one, 20 twenty-two academic year. Of particular note, The January 2022 graduating class of 8 43 trained teachers Was the largest in the history of the Cyril Potter College of Education. And it stands testimony to this government’s commitment to reforming and expanding teacher training.And that represents her another eight hundred and forty-three young Guyanese persons who are now today trained teachers. Student to teacher ratios will be brought down to more no more than 15 to one at the nursery level. And 20 to one at the primary and secondary levels. To allow each child adequate and individual teacher interaction. Turning to tertiary education, mister speaker, the University of Guyana will be allocated three point 5 billion dollars towards the operation of its campuses and expansion of its course offerings for online and in-person classes.That’s 11, 000 students. Additionally, to ensure even wider access to tertiary education, the goal program as I mentioned earlier, offered, as we all know by now, 6, 000 online students in line with and in keeping, which his excellency’s mandate to rapidly accelerate the development of our human capital. They succeeded our initial target of 4, 500. As a result of the overwhelming response by the public to this initiative. Mister speaker, in twenty twenty-two, an amount of one point three billion dollars is budgeted to meet the cost of another four thousand five hundred scholarships. As well as two thousand seven hundred and twenty-six continuing students. Turning some to the extremely important topic of technical and vocational training, technical training in particular. Given what was said earlier and what has been said elsewhere. Outside of parliament including by his excellency the president. Vice President and others. The question of ensuring that the Guyanese workforce is equipped with the skills that are needed.For the in which the economy is going. And at the same time ensuring that we have an adequate supply of skilled labour. So creating jobs for people, equipping, equipping them with skills, but also ensuring on the demand side, on the recruiting side, that there is a sufficient market, pool of skills from which to recruit. This is essential to achieving our local local content objectives. And so in that on that note sir I would say as a following that our rapid development trajectory requires a skilled, qualified, and innovative workforce.We have identified human capital development through technical and vocational skills as one of the most critical inputs if our development objectives are to be met. In this regard, sir, we will partner with the private sector to provide relevant training immediately Even as we streamline the National Skills Training Programs that exist across agencies to ensure that they are coordinated and fit for purpose. In the latter regard, the technical and vocational training programs, the various technical and vocational training programs that we have across the country and institutions that we have across the country. Must be tailored to be responsive to the labor market needs of the sectors across the economy. Today and tomorrow. In this regard, we plan to undertake early an analysis of the institutions offering skills training with the aim of streamlining them and modernizing their curriculum to make them more relevant to contemporary needs.So that they are able to offer training to young and not so young Guyanese persons in areas that would immediately make them attractively marketable. To the labour market, to the job market, of today and tomorrow. Importantly sir, we will be partnering Indeed a flagship initiative will be a partnership with the private sector to establish a Guyana Technical Training College. With its campus, Ako Pawant, incorporating the world famous Gaisuko round technical training school. and that facility that new and enhanced facility will include will include a dedicated institute established for the purposes of training persons for the oil and gas sector. that facility will also have dedicated capabilities in the training persons for work in the tourism and hospitality center. An initial $260 million dollars is budgeted to commence work. At this location in twenty twenty-two. Mister speaker, as a matter of the highest urgency, In order to ensure that we have a pool of Guyanese persons equipped to take up jobs in the oil and gas industry. Our government had an engagement with the sector led by his excellency, the president and the vice president. So that we can have a better understanding of what the highest priority needs are. Of the sector, what are the skills that they need in what numbers? And so on inventory of the skills needs of the sector was compiled. And we will be proceeding, sir, to train persons and to get them certified with exactly those skills. so that they can commence work immediately. Budget twenty twenty-two allocates a sum of four hundred and 5 million dollars. to train and certify one thousand persons in a wide range of areas including such areas as welders, in fact welding is perhaps the area with greatest need. and we will be training the largest number of welders amongst the different skill sets but there are other skill sets, skill sets too.Welders, stevadores, heavy vehicle operators and many others. That’s one 000 Guyanese persons who will be trained this year. so that they can enter employment with the oil and gas sector. And of course Following the review to which I alluded, the review of the various institutions, all of our various technical institutes, and the Board of Industrial Training, will be offering significantly scaled up, training programs for literally for thousands of Guyanese persons with modern and upgraded curriculum. We anticipate sir that in twenty twenty-two alone across the entire spectrum of technical training facilities and training programs, we anticipate almost 10, 000 persons being trained in one area or another. Mister speaker, I turn now to housing. this people’s progressive party government we gave our commitment to ensure that affordable housing is available to the people of Guyana. And we are committed to meeting that promise. immediately upon resuming office we restarted the government housing program. Established several new housing schemes. Distributed house lots. and issued land titles in some cases to persons who had been waiting for the entire five years. Mister speaker, we are well on track. To achieving our target of providing 50, 000 house lots by 2025. We are well on track. Since we took office in August, a total of ten 000 063 house slots were allocated to persons. But our commitment is not only to distribute our slots but also to ensure that those persons become homeowners by constructing their homes. Mister speaker, in 2021, Largely as a result of the various policies that we put in place including our innovative low-income housing program in which we partner with the with the with the commercial banks and we effectively subsidize the commercial banks offering a lower interest rate. The first time homeowners the raising of the ceiling on loans that may be given by the new building society Mister speaker, those policies and of course the distribution of the lots et cetera. policy sir led to a $5 billion dollar increase in real estate loans issued by commercial banks in twenty twenty-one. That’s another $5 billion dollars that was lent to persons to build their own homes. That’s $5 billion dollars injected into the economy in the construction sector. On the residential end. We expect sir this number to grow even further. over and beyond that we are also constructing homes for low income low income households. We are constructing core homes. We are granting home improvement subsidies. In 2021, we granted 228 home improvement subsidies. The value of $114 million dollars. We expect to grant one thousand home improvement subsidies in 2022. Mister speaker, in 2021, an amount of 18. point seven billion dollars was expended to continue the consolidation works in 11 housing years including Great Diamond, prospect, Cummings Lodge. These have all been substantially progressed.In twenty twenty-two, we’ve allocated $12. 4 billion dollars for the housing sector to continue infrastructure works in housing areas which include the upgrading of 45. 5 kilometers of roads in 31 existing housing areas across regions one, two, three, four, five, 6, 9 and 10. amongst other works If I may turn now sir to water and sanitation. Here again, we are committed to expanding portable water coverage and improving water supply nationwide. to guide these efforts, the Ghana Water Inc commence the implementation of its new strategic plan for the period 2021 to 2025. This plan targets improved access to water, enhancing the quality of of service, and reducing non-revenue water. Mister speaker, I’m pleased to announce that Budget twenty twenty-two provides $4. 9 billion dollars to continue to improve the water sector. access to water. Mister speaker, the distribution of clean water to unserved and underserved communities is a priority for this government. disregard The newly drilled Lucik Nanwell now provides improved water pressure to over four 000 residents between Good Hope and Annandale. Approximately four thousand seven 752 residents of Baker Nam will now have access to improved water pressure. The drilling of new wells located at Chesney and Parica will be completed during twenty twenty-two. Further mister speaker to increase coverage and provide first time access to portable water several projects were completed in areas including Neems, Stanley Town, Potensha, Hydrani, Parika Baghdang, Relief, Yarrow Cabra and others. In 2022, mister speaker, amounts totaling 3 point5 million dollars are budgeted under the Hinterland Water Supply Program which will make provision for new water supply systems to be installed in Philippi, Isino room, Wawata, Taserine, and others. It is estimated sir that 70% of the Hinterland communities will have access to portable water by the end of 2022 compared to 56% currently. Mister speaker, in 2021, on what a quality and service A provision of 47 million was provided for the expansion of water treatment plants at Covent Garden, Grove, Friendship, and Virgin Nugent. the expansion of the Sapphire and Eccles water treatment plants is expected to be completed in the first quarter of twenty twenty-two. Mister speaker, given the interventions that are planned for 2022, we expect that portable water coverage for the coastland will increase from 96% to 98%. reducing non-revenue water. Mister speaker, in 2021, 15, 340 water meters were established. The new and existing service connections. With another 20, 000 meters planned for installation in twenty twenty-two. This we expect will reduce water losses from 67% to 64% by the end of this year. In addition, we’ve upgraded transmission lines between shelter belt and Namaha Street. In during the transfer of two hundred and eighty-four service connections from the old network to the new network. Furthermore, the old existing cast iron transmission main will be replaced with new, high-density pipes between Shelter Belt and Water Street to benefit approximately one hundred thousand persons. This government remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure that every citizen’s health and well being are safeguarded in a clean environment. Whereas in twenty twenty-one, 1. one billion dollars was suspended. An amount of $1. 1 billion dollars was expended to improve solid waste management. Including walk down the tags, bush and other locations. In twenty twenty-two sir, we’ve allocated one point four dollars to improve sanitary and environmental conditions. Through infrastructure development across the country. This includes the design and construction of a gas management system and stormwater ponds at Hardsbush. And other activities include construction and upgrading of access roads for landfill sites at Blairmont, Bellevue, Rose Hall, and Line Park. Amongst other places. Additionally, works will be undertaken for the preparation of new dump sites at East Kanji and Blairmont where the disposal of solid waste is a major issue for residents. turning to culture and the arts. Mister speaker, this government is committed to building a more inclusive society in which our diversity is celebrated and our people coexist in harmony. His excellency has entreated all of us to embrace the concept of one Guyana. And this budget charges us to embark on the journey of building that one Guyan. His excellency has also passionately stated that the development of culture requires a bottom up approach of community engagement. Mister speaker, last year, over 200 artists, including singers, dancers, poets, and musicians. Benefited from sixteen virtual events. Including the one Guyana concert. The Independence and Christmas Concert. As well as the creative powers. This year, $157. 7 million dollars is budgeted for the hosting of these events including the Guyana Cultural Festival. of our country’s arts and entertainment, government is examining various options to expand our support to our young and emerging artists. The expansion and strengthening of the arts, program, and schools and integrating and expanding, integrating an expanded community model is expected to benefit our young people across the school system. 2022 we have budgeted 1. 3 billion dollars to directly support culture and the arts in Guyana including an amount of $100 million dollars to establish a fund dedicated to promoting culture and the arts. sports. Mister speaker, the sports program aims to ensure that all Guyanese are provided with opportunities to participate in sporting activities. Last year twenty five community grounds across regions. One, two, three, four, five, 6, 7, and 10 were upgraded. And preparatory works began on the construction of the multi-purpose sports facilities at regions 2, 6, and 10. Mister speaker, one 4 billion dollars is budgeted In 2022 for sports infrastructure and development including for the completion of the synthetic tracks in region 6 and 10. The multi-purpose sports facilities, the erection of stands at the National Track and Field Center, Rehabilitation of works at the National Stadium to support the cricket academy, construction of pavilions at region 6 and 10.And the procurement of sports gears. of this amount sir. 250 million is also budgeted for the continued improvement of community grounds. Aside from this the sum of $45. 8 million dollars is allocated for maintenance works to sports facilities such as the Mackenzie Sports Club. Recreation Center, the National Aquatic Center, and Culgrain Pui. Mister speaker, overall, Hundred twenty twenty-two allocates the sum of two 2 billion dollars for the continued development of sports. Turning to youth. Mister speaker an amounts totaling $841. 3 million dollars have been allocated specifically, specifically for youth-focused programs. in disregard the training programs offered by various entities within the purview of the Ministry of Youth, will be reviewed in accordance with all of the other technical and vocational courses that are being offered as part of that whole of the system approach to technical training. That review as I indicated earlier will happen very shortly. Turning sir to our senior citizens. Mr. Speaker, our senior citizens also remain a valuable institution or are an invaluable and extremely valuable institutional resource to our society and must be afforded the opportunity for a good quality of life, safe, secure, good quality health care, and opportunities for social engagements.We continue to take active steps to support our senior citizens as the pandemic evolves and we have prioritized their access to vaccines and booster shots. across the system. Mister speaker, in 2021, the old age pension was increased from 20, 500 to $25, 000 dollars monthly. And a one-off cash grant of twenty-five thousand dollars paid in October last year. Thus sir, in 2021, government would have expanded almost $20 billion dollars in direct cash transfers to our senior citizens.In 2022, our government will keep our promise of further improving disposable incomes of our senior citizens. Thank you. In addition to the old age pension, I’m one-off cash grant, a total of 27, 000 pensioners received water subsidies. And forty-nine thousand nine hundred and sixty-six households. Including pensioners. from electricity credits. Mister speaker, in addition to giving greater support to our care homes, the wellness of senior citizens across our country will benefit from major improvements in the health care and related infrastructure.Improve transport networks and expanded food security programs across the country. Together these will result in safer mobility for our senior citizens and improve access to and affordability of food supplies. These will all way down to improve management of chronic diseases which continue to be priorities. Mister speaker, Turning to women and gender issues. Our rich, our rich Guyanese diversity is enhanced by the fact that approximately 50% of our population are women and girls. Empowerment of women is therefore an imperative to achieving sustainable development as has been recognized by this government in our manifesto.The representation of women across all spheres of society is something that this administration strongly supports. One needs only to look within this very house sir. Where 35% of our MPs are women. A number to which many countries still aspire. That the development of women cannot be viewed in isolation But as part of the substantial investments being undertaken across both social and economic sectors. In addition to the numerous expenditure outlays designed to benefit women. This government is committed to gender equality not just superficially but meaningfully. As Guyana seeks to realize gender equality, gender mainstreaming and gender desegregated data are critical to designing targeted programs. To this end, the resuscitation of the inter ministerial gender focal point committee, the establishment of the Regional Gender Affairs Committee, and the strengthening of the National Men’s Forum, since our government assumed office, are all pivotal steps In this regard one area where our government would like to see improvement is in the level of female labour force participation. To this end, our government continues to provide as well as encourage investments that generate job creation opportunities for women.One such example is in the BPO sector where an estimated 75% of employees are women. And as stated earlier, we continue very aggressively to advocate the the further growth and expansion of this sector. With the anticipation that even more jobs will be created. Mister speaker, in 2021, our government championed women entrepreneurs to lead, innovate, and flourish in a program entitled We Lift Which was launched early last year. A mini expo was organised to give women entrepreneurs exposure. The event benefited over 75 women owned businesses which were given marketing support tools including an in an effort to promote and expand their businesses. In twenty twenty-two, similar exports will be held in at least two other regions. Mister speaker, the women’s innovation and investment network, the win program was launched to provide women with training to increase their entrepreneurial skills and sensitization on critical issues. Ranging from legislation on women’s rights to social issues including domestic violence and abuse. In twenty twenty-two, wind will be expanded, targeting even more women and offering additional and advanced courses in several areas. turning served to persons with disabilities. Our government here again is concerned about the well being of persons living with disabilities.And we are making a conscious effort to bring social services to all eligible persons. In this regard, the National Commission on Disability commenced the survey to record all persons living with disabilities. In 2021, persons living with disabilities receive training, psycho, social and the public assistance In 2022, our government will be collaborating with the rehabilitation center to develop a national classroom for autistic children. In addition, the civil works will continue on the Center for Disability. And the construction of a new care center at the Mahaika Hospital for children living with disabilities will commence. Additionally, two wheelchair buses will be purchased to aid in the transport of residents from the Mahaika Hospital and training complex. Mister speaker, to ensure that persons with disabilities achieve their full potential. We must begin care and support from early childhood. Currently, there are approximately 500 children enrolled in our special education need schools and we will continue conducting assessments to identify other children through the education system. Who might need special education needs services. Our government will continue to to work to destigmatize special education needs. And our parents and children to access these services. Further we have worked to improve pedagogy in the area of special education needs. And to this end over two thousand two hundred teachers have been trained to provide appropriate instructions.Additionally over 100 teachers are enrolled in higher education training. Via the gold program. They are upskilling will surely serve to improve the learning outcomes of ours of our special special ed program. To the benefit victims of domestic violence Mister speaker, abuse of any form is unacceptable within our society. And is a social issue that cannot be ignored. Our government continues to pursue initiatives to present to prevent domestic violence.In this regard, the inter ministry, gender, focal point committee, was reconstituted. As I mentioned earlier. In addition, domestic violence training is now part of the curriculum of the police training college. And the Guyana Police Force has established domestic violence units and special rooms that identified police stations to receive reports in more suitable environments. Mister speaker, in 2022, an amount of 19. seven million is earmarked for the rehabilitation and extension of domestic violence shelters at whim and under Neeming which will continue to provide services for victims of sexual and domestic violence. Support the victims now also includes expanded legal aid services. For which an amount of one hundred and fourteen point nine million dollars has been allocated. Mister speaker, I now turn to Amar Indian and Hinterland development. In pursuit of our government’s commitment to ensure that all the people of Guyana participate fully in the economic transformation that is currently unfolding in our country. We are mindful of the unique challenges faced by our Armenian brothers and sisters. Particularly those residing in remote communities. We are committed to ensuring that Amar Indian and Hinterland villages are economically empowered. First and foremost through the land tightling program.Which languished over the last five years. Or over the five years from 2015 to 20 twenty rather. And secondly through development of the Amarinian village community. We are also committed to ensuring that all of the country’s best educational and training opportunities. Are as available to our Hinterland brothers and sisters as they are to those on the coast. And we are committed to ensuring that the quality of social services delivered. To all villages is improved markedly Mister speaker, in 2021, a total of five demarcations were completed. The certificates of title for these demarcations are currently being issued. And our armor Indian brothers and sisters who reside within Kapui village would have been the first of these five villages to receive their certificate of title. In 2022, our government will continue the right, continue to support the rights of our indigenous peoples. By act accelerating the untitling program at a cost of five hundred and sixty-one point six million dollars. allocated in this budget to achieve a target of 20 certificates of title. Mister speaker, in supporting sustainable livelihoods of Hinterland communities in 2020 one this government expended six hundred and seventy-three million dollars for tractors, implements, and economic projects aimed at enhancing the development of agriculture, tourism, women, and youth. This, this far 112 tractors and trailers, along with implements distributed to Arindian communities to help promote village agriculture, as well as to use for use in trans Mister speaker, in 2022, a further sum of four hundred 2 million dollars will result in 71 additional communities benefiting similarly. Bringing similarly bringing the total number of communities to one hundred and eighty-three since this government took office. Additionally, and importantly, sir. As mentioned earlier, to improve connectivity, a sum of three 4 billion dollars. 3. 4 Is budgeted for the Hinterland Roads Program. Mister speaker, in 2021, 666 million point $5 million dollars was expended on stipends. To engage two thousand community service organizations. It would be recalled, sir. That these these two thousand CSOs was summarly terminated during the 2015 immediately upon the APNU AFC, assuming office in 2015, sent home. We committed them that immediately on returning to office, we will resume this program.And bring once again 2000 young Amerinian persons, young Amran, 2000 young Amranian Guyanese persons. back into the workforce And we did it. We delivered on that commitment. We also trained the CSOs. for the sum of $115. 6 million dollars is spent towards training of four hundred and twenty CSOs in areas such as ICT, licensing and tractor driving, licensing, maintenance, solar panel installation, and maintenance. Equipping them with skills. That are relevant and that would be of value both to their own personal upliftment but also value within the village economy. in 2022 I’m pleased to announce that the number of CSOs will be increased to two thousand five hundred creating an additional creating an additional 500 jobs for young young Amerinian persons. And the sum of 60 million will be spent on training 660 of these CSOs. To serve in these two hundred and twenty communities. In a variety of areas, tourism and hospitality, development of business plans, food safety prerequisites, good manufacturing practices and the list goes on. Mister speaker, needless to say along with other countries country wide, thirty-one thousand 295 Hinterland students are expected to benefit this year from the because we care cash grant which we resume. Additionally, to improve access to education and skills, a sum of $93. point three million dollars is budgeted towards the Hinterland Scholarship Program. Where 805 students are expected to benefit. Mister speaker, in total, three point one billion dollars is allocated for core Amar Indian development programs. This along with key investments across every sector will set the stage for rapid improvement in well being in our Amarindian and Hinterland villages. I turn now the improved governance and institutional reforms. governance. Mister speaker, the governance architecture of this government And the commitment and conviction of this government are based firmly on inclusivity, participation, transparency and accountability and the rule of law. It is grounded in the concept and policy thrust of one Guyana. The consultations on the new and expanded LCDS twenty thirty. is but an example of the operationalizing of this one Guyana adopting an inclusive approach to decision making. A major development that will occur in 2022, sir, will be the establishment and operationalizing of the one Guyana Commission. It would be recalled Sarah that his excellency, the president, at his inaugural address at the opening of this National Assembly, last February, I believe it was. spoke of the intention to bring a law to introduce a one Guyana Commission with specified objectives to be headed by the by no lesser person than the honorable Prime Minister.It is our intention, sir, to establish that one Guyana Commission and to start it’s extremely important work in pursuit of its extremely important mission. It is our intention to have that work start in twenty twenty-two. Mister speaker, all of these guide our government’s approach to everything. The anti-corruption framework of is based on commitments to our treaty obligations made to the Inter American Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention Against Corruption. Our challenges are of course like many other small developing countries. They are related to factors of human, financial, and technical resources. For this reason, sir, capacity building will be prioritized. To the implementation of our our anti-corruption program and policies. Furthermore, progress has been made in relation to the reconstituting of key governance institutions, the ethnic relations commission, the police service commission, the public procurement commission. Mister speaker, we hope that by the end of the budget process, that we will get back to normal parliamentary meetings. And sittings and these items on the agenda will move through quickly. So that these important constitutional bodies can be in place as required by the supreme law of our land. Mister speaker, We have heard, we hear from time to time, much about exclusion and discrimination by many on the other side of the house. However, this government’s track record of ensuring a wide consultative process is one of our strong points. Unlike our friends, on the opposite side of the house. We remain committed to inclusion and participation of our citizens in the areas of government policy and legislative reform. Inclusive governance is also demonstrated by the fact that our programs are accessible to all. For example, our covid-19 relief program. Our support cash grant program, our gold scholarships, our youth programs, our housing drives among many others. These demonstrate to the people our commitment to make sure that those who need help are not blocked nor stymied in accessing government programs. We will continue with public education and engagement initiatives to improve stakeholder awareness, inclusion, and participation. the philosophical framework of this government is that good governance is critical to ensuring equity in the development process. And sir, nowhere is this expressed more elegantly. More elegantly, and indeed eloquently. Than by his excellency, the president when he said, that we must strive and ensure that we avoid becoming a rich country of poor people.It is for that reason, sir. That I, that I began my presentation by saying, we are committed to national unity and national prosperity you. Turning sir to justice, sector reform. Mister speaker, the government recognizes that the stability and strength of the justice sector are paramount to public trust. And to invest their confidence. We have always supported and will continue to support. The implementation of reforms in order to enhance and modernize our judicial system. While at the same time maintaining the highest respect for their constitutional independence. Our government has allo four point seven billion dollars in 2022 to build on the important work and advancement of the justice sector in Guyana. in 2020 one we expended 8 and 70 million dollars on the completion and construction of courts and living quarters country wide which will result in Bartika and Madia becoming operational this year in twenty twenty-two 1. 3 billion dollars will be expanded to support the judiciary to improve access to justice especially in previously under served areas To this end Port Kaijuma, Mabaruma, and vigilance magistrates courts will be completed in twenty twenty-two. While two additional magistrates courts and living quarters along the East Bank of Demarara, in Timeri and friendship will be advanced. These investments will increase the delivery, the number of courts across the country to forty-six. from 41 in 2019. And will result in more timely delivery and improved access to the justice system. And of course reduced costs to citizens. An improved convenience. Mister speaker a further two hundred and fifty million dollars has been allocated to improve the other aspects of the criminal justice system. To this end, the University of Guyana’s prosecutorial program will commence here.Catering for 2five students initially for a duration of thirteen weeks, Which will increase, increase our number of trained prosecutors. Further judicial policies aimed at reducing over reliance on imprisonment. Are being developed to increase the use of alternative sentencing in the justice system. To compliment these initiatives, the management information system for the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Restorative Justice, Ministry of Human services, the probation department the Gyana Police Force, and the Director of Public Prosecutions will become operational this year, Ensuring a coordinated approach to the effective management of cases. Mister speaker, I turn now to public safety and security. our law enforcement agencies will continue to work to preserve public trust and uphold the rule of law. Initiatives such as strengthening community engagements and partnerships. Increasing and improving the deployment of resources in all police regional districts. Enhancing leadership professional development heightened crime fighting capabilities, are all elements, critical elements of our strategy. Concompetently, technology will be concomitantly sir technology will be developed and applied to intelligence gathering and information sharing to improve diagnostic competencies by law enforcement agencies. To support these initiatives, a sum of 47. 9 billion dollars has been allocated in twenty twenty-two. Towards the restoration and preservation of law and order at all levels of our society. In twenty twenty-2, 4 point 9 billion dollars has been allocated to strengthen the assets of the force. In this regard, work will commence on a multi-story building to consolidate the operations of the Brick Dam Police Station. Which was gutted by fire in October 2021. And for which over four hundred I’m advised arson. and for which $400 million dollars is allocated. Additionally, the role of ICT in our security and crime fighting capabilities cannot be overemphasized.In this regard, $2. 5 billion dollars has been allocated to expand the Safe City Program. Beyond the boundaries of Georgetown. This program will see the entire country being connected to CCTV cameras. Bonita central as well as at the Regional Command Centers to be established across the country. Moreover sir, satellite phones and body cameras will be acquired to boost operational efficiency across all regional divisions. Mister speaker, to support the the efforts of the Garmin Police Force In 2021, we promise to resuscitate community policing groups nationally At the end of twenty twenty-one, one hundred and seventy of those groups were active. And we are targeting to resuscitate another one hundred and 75 in 2022. To this end, we have allocated $99 million dollars to support these groups. Who have proven to be extremely effective across many rural and Hinterland communities.Mister speaker, training is also a key strategic imperative of the Ghana Police Force. To this end, a sum of one hundred and twenty million dollars is budgeted in twenty twenty-two. Towards the training of ranks. while other ranks will be added to ensure greater coverage across communities. Training in the areas of crime and traffic management will continue to be facilitated. Both locally and in partnership with international institutions.In the prison service, transforming the penal institution into a correctional facility. That reforms the mindsets of in of inmates to benefit all of society. Post incarceration. Is a core objective. During 2021, over $2 billion dollars was expended mainly to complete the first block of the Mazaroni prison. and to commence construction of three prison blocks at Music Nam. in twenty twenty-2, a further $2. 3 billion dollars is budgeted towards enhancing prison infrastructure. Works will continue on the Lucik Nan Prison which will be transformed into a modern facility to house most which will be transformed into modern facility to house both male and female prisoners including a vocational school, an infirmary annex, prison headquarters, and command centre.Additionally works will be conducted at Mazaroni Prison on a second prison block. We will also invest in the training of one thousand four00 inmates in such areas as anger management literacy and numeracy, amongst others At a budgeted sum of eighty-eight point nine million dollars. In the fire servicer. In twenty 2-one the operational capabilities of the fire service were severely challenged. Our government reviewed the situation and took concerted action to identify interventions to arrest this challenge. In 2021, over $150 million dollars was allocated for installation of one hundred and thirty-nine new fire hydrants in housing areas. And for repairs to 51 fire hydrants. And Please sir to announce that Budget twenty twenty-two provides an additional $100 million dollars for additional installation in order to ensure adequate water supply In the event of a fire. To augment the capability of the fire service. Especially at a time when our landscape is changing towards modern high rise buildings. $255 million dollars will be invested to procure a hydraulic platform To bolster our firefighting capabilities. Additionally, water bowsers, ambulances, and an ulterior firefighting vehicle will all be procured in twenty twenty-two. Mister speaker, turning to local government. the local democratic organs have a legacy of weak institutional and technical capacity and poor accountability.Despite this, our government remains firmly of the view that these organs have an important role to play in local governance and in local service delivery. We remain committed to supporting these organs in building capacity to perform their constitutional roles. We aim to further strengthen the institutional human resource capacity of the LDOs. To ensure accountability and better management of resources. improve sanitary and environmental conditions. And help promote infrastructure development at the local level. In 2022 mister speaker, an amount of seven hundred and40 million dollars has been allocated to finance grants to the local democratic organs to help maintain infrastructure and improve services. Additionally, work will continue on the Parica and Monripo markets. To provide a safe, secure, and conducive environment for vendors and customers. As well as on the iconic Georgetown City Hall at a cost of six and $66. 8 million dollars. Mister speaker, furthermore, Mister speaker, furthermore, a scaled up, a scaled up community infrastructure. My apologies, sir. Mister speaker, furthermore, a scaled up community infrastructure, improvement project will be launched in twenty twenty-two At a cost of $5 billion dollars to improve the sanitary and environmental conditions, as well as to improve community aesthetics within.The jurisdiction, the areas within these LDUs, these local democratic organs. Within villages. Mister speaker, turning now to public public administration and public financial management matters related to revenue management. Mister speaker, to promote voluntary compliance, the Gyana Revenue Authority is currently revolutionizing its business processes. Utilizing ICT and public awareness in our goal to create a modern and efficient tax administration agency. Key activities will include implementation of phase two of the revenue management, software, optimal In twenty twenty-two along with other activities to promote voluntary compliance. These will include adoption of the harmonized system, the HS twenty twenty-two which will replace HS 2017 to update the customs laws and regulations and to bring us into harmony with regional and international classification systems. Effort to implement digitized versions of certificates of origin will also be explored. Full implementation of the single window automated system to which I alluded earlier. To create a more business-friendly environment, reduce bureaucracy and red tape and improve the ease of doing business or all initiatives that will be pursued.Mister speaker, indeed, in addition, In addition to these initiatives, strong emphasis will be placed on building institutional capacity in particular to effectively discharge and execute the authority’s new responsibilities in the oil and gas sector. as well as in the New and emerging sectors and the changing structure of the Guyanese economy. To this answer to meet the cost of it, investing in its capabilities, and to finance the cost of its operations as some of $8. 9 billion dollars is allocated to the Guyana Revenue Authority. Mister speaker, in twenty twenty-one, turning to payment systems.Mister speaker, given our government’s commitment to mobilize digital solutions as far as possible in all government services. We made in 20 21 significant progress in modernizing Guyana’s payment system infrastructure. The real time growth settlement system in the Central security securities depository systems were fully integrated with the automated clearing house. The new system went live during the first quarter and has already facilitated over four hundred and 000 transactions to date. Including, sir, I’m pleased to report the payment of all government salaries and pensions except for persons living in remote Hinterland communities. In 2022, we will engage our financial systems providers to further integrate our systems in central government with the national payment system. This will enhance the processing of all payments electronically thus reducing the printing and handling of checks. When fully operationalized all government payments as well as business to business payments through the banking system will be instantaneous in the security financial transactions will be substantially improved. Sterling served as a National Insurance Scheme Mister speaker, the National Assurance Scheme is an extremely important national institution Which has served Guyana well. But which is in need of serious reform both from the administrative and policy standpoints.Administratively the scheme has a long standing reputation for at for inefficiency. And is a major source of frustration to its contributors and pensioners alike. This government immediately upon assuming office. Committed to confront this problem. We appointed a new board of directors at the end of 2020 And mandated that board to address the long standing administrative problems. And much has been achieved since. The scheme has rolled out innovative and easy to use technology based solutions such as its WhatsApp based online call in function which is extremely popular particularly amongst overseas based pensioners. Which allows online submission of life certificates and other transactions. Mister speaker, we also conducted a series of outreaches throughout the country. Listening to and addressing public concerns. Ten such outreaches were conducted. And one thousand six hundred and persons seen. The outreaches were proved to be extremely effective in addressing public complaints. And almost 75% of the matters raised have since. resolved. At the same time sir, it is well known that the scheme faces serious challenges regarding its long term viability.Its last actuary evaluation was done in 2016 and indicated the deficiency of the family. Preliminary work has already begun to analyze the various recommendations made on the scheme over the years. With a view to identifying and implementing lasting and sustainable reforms to the institution. Turning search of public procurement. Last year, sir, I conveyed our government’s commitment to restoring a public procurement system that had been systematically dismantled by the APNU AFC when they were in government. Since we resumed office, our government has worked tirelessly to restore credibility, confidence, accountability, and transparency in public accountability in public in public transparent in public procurement. My apologies. Since tubing office. We’ve worked tirelessly to restore credibility, confidence, accountability, and transparency in public procurement. To this end, we have remodeled, modernized, and created a more user-friendly website. We have uploaded the records of all tender openings and all contracts awarded at the level.We’ve instituted a public virtual tender opening process twice weekly whereby bidders are provided visual some text communication at the opening process. from the comfort of their homes We’ve issued revised, updated, new standard bidding documents for goods, works, and services including security services. We have completed the design and development of the bidders register and we’re planning to roll it out. Roll this out in twenty twenty, 21st quarter of twenty twenty-2. We have compiled a comprehensive training manual for procuring entities including minister on regional boards. And the lists are goes on. Going forward in 2022, we intend to continue to adhere to the strictest of principles. Of transparency and good governance in public procurement. And to build on all of the gains that we’ve already made and to which I have just alluded.We will also focus heavily on capacity building and training. Not just within but within ministries. And amongst ministerial and regional tenders board. is considerably advanced. Finally sir, action has been taken with a view to seeking parliamentary approval. For the appointment of the members of the public procurement commission. Mister speaker, in relation to data systems strengthening, statistical systems, and strengthening of our statistical systems. Our government recognizes the immense value immeasurable value indeed Or and the importance of quality, timely, and reliable data to inform and drive policy and decision making at all levels. In 2022 we will continue to strengthen the Bureau of Statistics and the National Statistical System to improve cooperation, coordination, and streamlining of data capture. Sharing, processing, analysis and reporting across the various statistical offices of government. Mister speaker, 2022 is a significant year for statistics in Guyana and the Caribbean. As it marks the conduct of the twenty twenty round of the population and housing census. Census twenty twenty-two will establish baseline data sets that will inform and guide policy at all levels. And for the first time in the national census, we’ll use geographic information systems to improve mapping. The result of census data. What strengthen evidence-based development planning and support policies and programs in all areas as well as the monitoring and updating of the SDGs. Turning sir now to foreign relations and the diaspora. Mister speaker, the government’s main foreign policy objectives continue to be the preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Advancing bilateral relations, and conducting economic diplomacy through the promotion of trade and investments. Projecting a positive image of Guyana through sensitization and awareness of policies and programs being undertaken. By government, Maintaining a proactive role in international affairs. and harnessing in a structured manner. The skills, expertise and other resources of the Guyanese diaspora who can contribute so immensely to our country’s development. Mister speaker, in 2022, our government will continue to pursue a robust foreign policy guided by the main thrust of our domestic agenda. The preservation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity will remain paramount. In this regard, a particular focus will be the completion of the memorial on the merits of our case and the controversy with Venezuela, which by order of the international court of justice, must be submitted to the court by March.20 twenty-two. Mister speaker, we will also focus on deepening relations with member states of the Caribbean community Continuing to give priority to expanding trade. Maintaining our commitments to Carricom. And accessing new markets. Ensuring that external trade negotiations rebound. To the benefit of the country. And the people. We will also continue to engage both traditional partners and also seek to foster the development of new strategic alliances. In this regard, our diplomatic mission will be open in the United Arab Emirates during this year. And we will also be taking advantage of the Carricom diplomatic mission in Kenya. To have representation in that office. Turning to the diaspora, sir. Mister speaker, the contribution which our diaspora can make to national development is not to be underestimated.Especially at this point in our country’s economic history. In concretising our our diaspora strategy. We will be implementing initiatives that would facilitate better coordination. Ensuring the involvement that in ensuring the involvement of individuals and associations from the diaspora. Cater to specific and areas that would meet our development goals and also benefit all stakeholders. Mister speaker, in 2021, the first virtual diaspora conference was successfully hosted with over 500 persons from 77 countries in attendance.Subsequent to this, a strong foundation was laid in Guyana to allow for greater ease and facilitation of diaspora initiatives. recognizing the value the diaspora brings to our development efforts. Amongst the plethora of strategies and plans to be implemented in twenty twenty-two. Are the development of the diaspora database. Including the export database. And the launching of the diaspora website. Which will not only become a platform to provide valuable information to the diaspora.On every relevant to their needs and interests. But will integrate the global Guyanese diaspora. Connecting them to every ministry. agency, sub agency, foreign mission, private sector, and others. The diaspora will also see more of the government. As a rigorous global outreach program is planned for twenty twenty-two. I now turn sir to our macroeconomic targets for twenty twenty-two. real gross domestic product. Mister speaker, real GDP is projected to grow by 47. 5%. a rate of growth with no other country in the world is currently projected to achieve in twenty twenty-two. This reflects the coming into operation of the second FPSO, the Liza unity, which will, of course, significantly ramp up oil production. The non-oil economy is also expected to to continue registering very strong growth. Currently projected, sir, at seven point 7% this year.Driven mainly by rebounds in rice and gold and continued expansion in construction activity and wholesale and retail trade. in agriculture, forestry, and fishing cell, the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector is expect is expected to expand by eight 9% this year, driven by growth across all sectors. The sugar growing sub sector is projected to grow by 11. 8% as begin to recover from the onslaught of the 2021 floods. With the aim of producing almost 65, 000 tons of sugar. The rice growing sector, sub sector is forecasted to expand by 25. 1% in 2022. A reversal of the 20. 5 percent decline observed last year. Largely on account of replanting efforts as well as the introduction of high of new high yielding varieties. Likewise, the other crops sub sector is expected to recover in 2022 and grow by 2. 5% the livestock sub sector will continue to expand. It’s a rapid growth rate of 13. 6percent projected for 2022. Mister speaker, despite the challenges they face, forestry and fishing are also projected to grow By 13. 5, and 5. 8%s respectively, reflecting, of course, a number of the initiatives, to which I would have alluded earlier. Mister speaker, higher forestry output will beat partly. The demand for timber products from public and private construction activity which is also expected to grow very rapid. in the X factor industry, mining and quarrying sector is forecasted to grow by eighty-six percent. On the line that of course is petroleum, the oil and gas sector, petroleum is expected from both Liza Unity, Liza Destiny and Liza Unity FPSOs. And the rate of production for 2022 is expected to be approximately 257, 000 barrels per day on average. As such the sector is projected to grow by 96 7% in 2022. Addition a turnaround is anticipated for the gold mining sub sector which is projected to grow by 12. 2% in 2022 on account of higher expected declarations of at least one operator. And also the small and medium scale of minors. Mister speaker, the box side sub sector like many other productive sectors faced tremendous interruptions in 202-one. It is anticipated to recover in twenty twenty-two and is now projected to grow by 25. 4% with output expected from both large operators. Additionally, the other mining and quarrying sub sector which includes sand, stone, diamonds. That was also projected to grow in twenty twenty-two Conservatively by 8.4%. Driven mainly by the intensified public sector investment program. And large private infrastructure projects expected to take off later this year. manufacturing sir is expected to register and improve performance in all its subcategories. Sugar, rice and other manufacturing are expected to expand by eleven point eight, twenty-eight point six and 8. percent respectively. Growth and value added from sugar and rice manufacturing reflect of course developments in cultivation and harvesting.And in the case of other manufacturing, we can expect further expansion in the manufacturing of non-metallic products. Like construction blocks, chemical products, as well as manufacturing of fabricated metal products. In construction, our government is committed to filling the substantial infrastructure gap that exists across our country. As is reflected by the aggressive infrastructure agenda that I would have outlined earlier in this presentation. As a result, we project 10 point5 percent growth in the construction sector. On top of the growth observed in the sector last year. On the line that growth of course is also the very strong ah construction boom taking place in the private sector. Mister speaker, in services after facing significant challenges in 2020, many of the service industries began their recover in 2021. On account of the faced phased reopening of our economy. And other measures put in place by this government to boost economic activity. In twenty, all of the service industries are projected to expand. Notably significant increases are forecasted for wholesale and retail trade and repairs, transport and storage, financial and insurance activities, administrative and support services, and real estate. Activities.Monetary policy and inflation. Mister speaker, in 2022 monetary policy will continue to be focused on price and exchange rate stability. Alongside growing the objective of growing credit to the private sector. This year, inflation is forecasted to be 4. 1 percent, Driven largely by continued but gradually moderating imported price pressure. Balance of payments. Mister speaker, the overall balance of payments is expected to register a surplus of four hundred and 4 million dollars. Largely attributed to projected improvement in the current account. The current account is expected to record a surplus of two billion four hundred and 4 million. Mainly on account of higher projected export earnings. Export receipts are forecasted to increase by seventy-nine point one percent. So seven billion seven and 92 point eight million.Reflecting higher anticipated export earnings from all commodities. In particular, crude oil exports are projected to increase by 107. 7%. To 6 billion 180 million 180 point six million. Amidst the commencement of production from Liza unity. Non oil fourth supper forecasted to increase by seventeen 1% to 1. 61 2 billion. At the same time, imports are expected to fall thirty-one point one percent. To 2 billion 957. 1 million, as no FPSO is projected to be imported this year. The capital account is forecasted to record a deficit of $2 billion dollars reflecting the operator’s share of oil production applied to cost recovery. As well as a adoration of FDI flows. Also as a result of no new FBI FBSO being imported this year. Mister speaker, targets for the non-financial public sector. Central government operations. Mister speaker, total central government revenue, net of grief inflows, and net of NRF withdrawal is projected to increase by 13. 4% to $301. 3 billion dollars. Within which tax collections will account for an estimated two hundred and 8 2 8 billion dollars. Reflecting the strong continued investment and growth in the enemy. Total expenditure of the central government is forecasted at 5 hundred and thirty billion dollars. So up to 6. 8% above 2021 expenditure. This is driven predominantly by the strong emphasis of budget 2022 on public investment. The PSIP is projected to grow by 10 and8. 7% to 217. 8 billion dollars. Meanwhile, sir, non-interest current expenditure is projected at three hundred and 2 billion. 9. 9% above the previous year. Mister speaker, as indicated earlier, budget 2022 is the first budget ever to benefit from withdrawals from the Natural Resource Fund following the historic passage of the NRF Act last December. This act as I mentioned earlier today addressed the most offensive deficiencies of the predecessor NRF Act. Pursuant to the provisions of the newly enhanced legal framework set out in the new NRF Act. Budget twenty to projects a withdrawal from the NRF and transfer to the consolidated fund of one hundred and twenty-six point seven billion Guyana dollars. It would be noted sir that that corresponds with the closing balance on the fund as stipulated by schedule one to the new NRF act. Mister speaker, this ensures that the accelerated development of gender outlined in this budget. The critical investments proposed as well as the measures still to be announced, can be financed without excessive borrowing. And without the introduct of any new taxes. Mister speaker, against this background, the overall deficit of the central government is projected at 7% of GDP. Mister speaker, budget 2022 is 44. 3% larger than budget 2021 and 36% above a total expenditure last year and amounts to 5 9 billion dollars. Undoubtedly, the largest budget ever. And sir, as indicated earlier, it is fully financed with no new taxes. Turn into the public enterprises, sir, receipts from the non-financial public enterprises are expected to grow by 8point6% to reach $152. 4 billion dollars. Their operating costs are projected to increase by $11. 7 billion dollars. Primalia GPL due to continued high anticipated oil prices. Mister speaker, regarding the operations of the non-financial public sector, a deficit of one hundred 3 billion dollars or 8% of GDP is projected to the non-financial public sector in twenty twenty-two. Returning to the natural, returning to the natural resource fund. Mister speaker, having addressed the withdrawal from the natural resource fund above, I will now address the projected inflows for twenty twenty-two. With two FPSO vessels expected to be in operation this year, it is anticipated that there will be 94 lists. It it is anticipated that there will be 94 lifts from the startup block. 13 of which will be government lifts. From this, it is estimated that deposits to the NRF for 2022 will total 957. 6 million US dollars. Comprising some eight hundred and fifty-seven point one million dollars earned from the government lifts of profit oil and an additional $100. 5 million dollars US dollars from royalties. Mister speaker, I now turn to budget measures. In addition to the wide range of public investment projects and initiatives announced earlier, all of which will stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and thereby generate incomes. Budget twenty twenty-two also proposes additional specific measures. Aimed at providing support to both households and businesses with the same objectives of job creation and income generation and ultimately improving well being. Firstly sir, we wish to announce a range of measures that address questions related to improving business competitiveness, promoting local content, and job creation. charity in tax treatment for local content. Mister speaker, when we were considering the local content act, one of the recurring issues that arose was the question of ensuring that Guyanese businesses are not in a disadvantageous position relative to their international counterparts in competing for contracts with the oil and gas sector. This could arise for example where the oil and gas sector is procuring a service and the internet national companies are tendering to supply that service and they enjoy particular tax treatment on the importation of the capital capital equipment to provide that service that the Guyanese companies might not enjoy.Just to give an example. Mister speaker, in the interest of ensuring that Guyanese businesses can compete successfully under the new local content framework. Our government will take steps wherever practical to minimize disparities arising from the tax system. That will that will cause disadvantage to Guyanese businesses against their international counterparts. This will help improve the competitiveness of Guyanese companies It will help secure business opportunities for them and it will thereby create jobs for Guyanese nationals. Secondly, supporting secondly still but still within the objective of improving business competitiveness and promoting local content and job creation. Support renewal of the industrial and commercial transport fleet. Mister speaker, in this era of mass movement of goods and intensive logistics operations which are all critical to the oil and gas sector as well as the ongoing construction boom. The transportation fleet has become an essential part of business capital stock. In this regard, we would like to enable Guyanese businesses to be able to renew and expand their transport fleets and additionally to do so by acquiring newer, safer, and more efficient vehicles.To this end we will be implementing the following measures. In relation to importation of new motor trucks of any tonnage for transport of goods. And I should add that new for the purposes for this for this purpose Or for the purposes of this paragraph. Refers to vehicles. Less than four years old. In relation to importation of new motor trucks. That is to say trucks below four years old. Of any ton for transport of goods. We will remove the 10% excise tax. as well as the 14 percent VAT that currently apply. In relation to importation of new haulers for pulling containers or similar vehicles for pulling. We will remove the vat of fourteen percent that currently applies on those vehicles. In relation to importation of new double cap pickups below 2000 CC. We will remove the currently applicable 10% excise tax altogether. While for new double cab pickups between 2000 and 3, 000 CC, we will reduce the excise tax from one hundred and ten percent to seventy-five percent.Wow. In relation to importation of new single cap becomes below 3, 000 CC, we will remove the currently applicable 10% excise tax. Altogether. Still under the same category of improving competitiveness and promoting local content. Reducing the cost of cranes, safety equipment, and oil spill equipment. Mister speaker, we will remove the fourteen percent vat on cranes, safety equipment, and oil response equipment. All as a part of ensuring that as many Guyanese companies as possible can equip themselves accordingly given the requirements of the oil and gas sector today. Additionally sir, it would be recalled that we had given a commitment to reverse the punitive taxes that were implemented by the APNU AFC once we return to office.One such tax that was implemented was a 2 percent withholding tax on resident contractors. This tax very severely affected the liquidity of resident contractors and therefore undermined their competitiveness. It also challenging to administer with very uneven compliance particularly outside the central government. Mister speaker, I’m pleased to announce that we will remove this 2% withholding tax on resident contractors. Yup. This will immediately improve liquidity by those contract, liquid, the liquidity and liquidity management by those contractors. Mister speaker, together these measures will cost an estimated $2 billion dollars and we will make it make, we will make an important diff, and will make an important difference in ensuring the competitiveness of Guyanese businesses, and therefore, help to create jobs for the Guidance people. I turn now sir to the third, to the second rather, Broad category of measures.And here I address measures to ease the cost of living. for the introduction of farmers markets. As already discussed, we recognize the fact that there’s been some upward movement in prices in the marketplace for a number of food items. But sir, we also observed that the extent of the upward price movement at the marketplace is not reflected in similar price movement at the farm gate. Indeed, market prices have increased much more steeply than farm gate prices. This reflects a number of factors including transportation cost and multiple layers of handling and reselling from farm to final retail. But in the interest of reducing inefficiencies in this process, we will be arranging monthly farmers markets at locations to be specified. In East Burbese, East Coast Damara, Georgetown, East Bank Damara, and West Coast Damara in the first instance. With the possibility of extending to other locations. Depending on the initial experience. Mister speaker, this will help our farmers to find ready markets for their produce. And it will help the order of $6 billion dollars. Mister speaker, it is well known that this government established a mechanism whereby the excise tax on fuel is lowered when the world market price for fuel increases.As previously mentioned, we use this mechanism twice in twenty twenty-one to lower the excise tax rate on gasoline and diesel from 50 to 35 in the first instance and then from 35 to 20. Despite this sir, the world market price continues to grow to increase. and remain high. I’m therefore so pleased to announce that utilizing the same well-established mechanism Our government will be lowering the excise tax rate immediately. On gasoline and diesel from 20% to 10%. Still on the subject of cost of living measures, sir. Our government regards the issue of cost of living as a matter of pressing concern. As already discussed, it is the direct result of global factors such as covid-19 and the attendant disruption to the supply chain. as well as domestic factors such as the flood which caused a temporary disruption to production. We have already implemented a number of measures to try to mitigate the effect of these shocks. Mister speaker, given the complexity of the factors driving price increases, and the limited policy instruments available to mitigate these increases. We intend to engage in further consultations with the communities most affected, both on the coast, and in the on the most vulnerable in society.To this end, sir. and in order to meet the cost of the interventions to be implemented after we would have conducted these consultations. Budget 2022 allocates a sum of $5 billion dollars to address this question of cost of living. supporting sir supporting the vulnerable. Mister speaker, much has already been said about the public investments being made to improve the quality of the public health care system as well as to incentivize private investment in health care. Even as these investments are being advanced, this country currently has a number of persons undergoing treatment for life-threatening conditions. A prime example is the number of persons currently receiving dialysis treatment. Many of whom are young people still in the time of their lives but often times struggling to meet the cost of their dialysis treatment. To the to this to this answer or in response to this, we will introduce a dialysis support program under which we will finance for each and every dialysis patient in Guyana. Dialysis treatment worth up to six hundred thousand per annum. Mister speaker, turning now to public assistance Our government’s public assistance program provides important income support for those in the most distressed of circumstances.This year, we will be increasing the monthly public assistance payment from twelve 000 to 14, 000. Benefiting 18000 persons and providing an immediate my apologies and providing an additional four hundred and thirty-two million dollars in disposable income to these individuals. support to the elderly Mister speaker, we remain committed to ensuring that those who have served their country over the years and are now advanced in their years are able to enjoy a dignified existence. In this regard, it will be recalled that we increase the old age pension last year in twenty twenty-one From $200, 500 to 25000. Mister speaker, this year, we will be increasing the old age pension further from twenty-five thousand to 28, 000 This will place an additional two point three billion dollars of disposable income in the hands of our sixty-five thousand old age pensioners. Firstly, sir, but somewhat on the related subject of increasing disposable income, uniform grants for school children. recognizing that there is no greater investment that can be made than investing in our young people. Our government has historically placed the highest importance on supporting parents in ensuring that their children can attend school. One such measure that we introduced is the annual uniform grant given to parents of each school child.I’m pleased to announce that we will increase that grant this year from four thousand to $5, 000 per child. And this will place in the hands in the homes of those children 200 and additional $200 million dollars of disposable income. relatively and in addition sir, turning to the because we care cash grants. It would be recalled that we had also introduced a because we care cash grant, a cash grant that is called described as because we care. A grant, in addition to the uniform allowance, the uniform grant. On top of that, a grant to parents of children attending school, to meet other expenses associated with their children’s attendance at school, and it would be recalled, sir, that this plant was unconscionably as I mentioned earlier discontinued by the APNU AFC. When they assumed office in 2015, taking that grant away from the parents of every single child going to school in Guyana.I am told that the removal of the that grant was to finance increased dietary expenditure. Mister speaker, we committed violent opposition, we committed that immediately on returning to office, we will restore that grant and we did so. Another promise delivered. We also said we will increase that grant. And we did so. Increasing itself to fifteen 000 in budget 2021. Mister speaker, I am now pleased to announce that we will increase that grant further. From 15, 000 per child to twenty-five thousand per child. Mister speaker, this will place in the homes of those two hundred thousand children going to school in public and I hasten to add now for the avoidance of doubt and in private school.This will place in the hands of those parents a total of $2 billion dollars. Still on the subject of increasing disposal income, sir. We would like, sir, to incentivize saving in the banking system. Encouraging persons as they get jobs and I’ve outlined earlier, all of the government, many of the government programs that create an opportunity for persons to get jobs, the thousands of jobs that will be created as persons, get increasing numbers of persons get jobs including young professionals. They start to earn an income and they start to accumulate some savings. And as those who are already in jobs advance themselves professionally and increase their incomes and improve their circumstances. We want incentivize at the household level. To encourage and incentivize saving accumulation of saving. At the household level. It would be recalled in that regard sir. That a withholding taxes currently charged on interest income earned on deposits in the banking system. order to alleviate the impact of this withholding tax on individuals with modest deposits. Individuals, not businesses or companies. In order to alleviate the impact of this withholding tax on individuals with modest deposits and to encourage them to to go to the banking system and to save. We are proposing to remove the withholding tax. From individuals whose total interest income does not exceed ten 000 per annum. reducing the cost of life and medical insurance. Similarly sir, on the same note as more of our Guyanese brothers and sisters enter the world of work, and as more of our Guyanese brothers and sisters start earning an income and start earning an an increased income. And as their disposable income start to rise, they become better able to make provision for unforeseen or adverse circumstances. Some of the typical instruments that households would would use for that purpose would include of course insurance.Taking out an insurance policy to ensure that if you are the sole breadwinner and a calamity were to befall you that your surviving relatives would not be left in poverty and penury. Taking out medical insurance policy taking on medical insurance. So that the event you face a catastrophic medical condition that you will not find yourselves out of pocket and completely bankrupt and unable to finance the cost of your medical treatment. As more and more Guyanese families, a get jobs, increase their incomes, find themselves in a circumstance where they can deploy this tool of insurance, life insurance and medical insurance to manage risk within their own home and ensure that their relatives are not left in poverty or that they are not left in poverty. In the event of their demise. Or in the event of a calamatous medical situation. They take out insurance. We want to make taking out that insurance cheaper, more affordable, sir. We would like to encourage as many of them to take out insurance because it help it enables individuals and their loved one, loved ones. To be better able to cope with these adverse circumstances whenever sadly and tragically they occur.To this end we are proposing to allow taxpayers a deduction from their chargeable income for premiums paid for life medical insurance up to a maximum of 10% of their income or $30, 000 dollars monthly, whichever is lower. This deduction sir will reduce the amount of taxable income and ultimately the tax payable by the taxpayer while at the same time secure assurance and set to rest the concerns of many citizens on their long term healthcare needs. And the needs of their family in the unfortunate circumstances that I outlined. personal income tax. Mister speaker, along with all of the other measures proposed to increase disposable incomes, our government would also like to provide additional relief to taxpayers. In this regard, we are proposing to increase the monthly income tax threshold from $65, 000 to $75, 000 monthly. This releases immediately certain to the hands of current taxpayers, a total of one 3 billion dollars of additional disposable income. If I might add, sorry, a final category of measures, the first is in relation to the low-income mortgage ceiling. I’ve alread y spoken sir about the impact that reintroducing and reinvigorating this low income mortgage program has had both on access to finance and the cost of finance and the level of credit for the purposes of home ownership In the banking system. It would be recalled that when we assumed office or since we assumed office rather, we announced two increases in the ceiling on low-income loans. The first was done, sir in the emergency budget of twenty twenty, when we increased the ceiling, from 8 million to 10 million dollars.And the second was done in budget 2021, when we increased the ceiling from 10 million to 12 million dollars. I wish sir announce a further increase in the ceiling from $12 million dollars to $15 million dollars. This will make housing loans from commercial banks more affordable to borrowers within that range and will help to encourage the thousands of persons who will be getting a house lot over the course of their coming year or who have already obtained a house slot since we resumed. Our government housing program to be able to go to the bank and obtain financing. Next so still under the what I would describe as measures, stamp duty on retail transactions.Mister speaker, it has been a long standing irritant to the business community and the consuming public. The requirement of fixed revenue stamps on receipts issued for retail transactions. And compliance levels are very uneven. We are proposing Sir to abolish this requirement. Specifically as it relates to retail transactions only. remigrants Mister speaker, I’ve already spoken of how much this government values the potential contribution of the diaspora. that given the opportunities that now exist in Guyana. The increased likelihood of remigration by overseas based Guyanese. In this regard, yet another one of the punitive tax changes made by our predecessors in office was to alter the entitlements of our remigrating diaspora. Particularly in relation to importation of a vehicle when they return. In this regard, we propose to revert to the more civil arrangement that existed prior to 2015. Mister speaker, together though it is estimated conservatively that those measures will place more than $25 billion dollars in the hands of Guyanese businesses and individuals. But at the same time sir, it will help to ease considerable hardship in the case of those measures that address hardship. And it will these measures will also simultaneously help to stimulate thousands of jobs, particularly those that relate to improving competitiveness and promoting competitiveness of Guyanese businesses within the local content framework. And it is sir, on that note, that I come to come to my conclusion. Mister speaker, although this is not, this is the third, not the first or the second budget of this people’s progressive party, civic government since we assume, since we resumed office. Budget 2022 is indeed an historic budget. It sets us resolutely on the path to realizing the bright future we have long awaited. It launches some of the most transformative projects in our country’s history. Projects whose realization will be critical to resolving the bugbears and bottlenecks that we have long faced. Whether it be adequate and affordable electricity, a transport network that is responsive to both productive opportunities and changing patterns of urbanization. Whether it be improved medical services for our people. Whether it be providing opportunities for young people to obtain training that is relevant to the job market. Whether it is investment in promoting the arts and the culture. It would be recalled that an announcement was made earlier regarding an allocation of a hundred million dollars to promote to establish a national endowment fund for the arts and promote the arts and culture. Whether it be investment in in strengthening the institutions of state like the judiciary, whether it be strengthening the security sector to ensure that our citizens are safer in every respect, sir. If one were to peruse every sector within budget twenty twenty-two, one will see that this budget heralds a dramatic change in course for a change in trajectory for us.Because this is the budget. In I suppose sir that it could be said. That in some respects not withstanding that what budget 2020 was of course an emergency budget and budget 2021 was the budget in which we outlined our medium term plans. I believe it would be filler to say sir that budget twenty twenty-two can well be regarded as the budget that truly launched the transformation of the building of the modern Gaia. And I rather suspect so. That when the history of our country is written, shall have been written, the history of our country during this period shall have been written. That future generations will consider the twenty twenty-two was the year in which Guyana’s great transformation began. Whether it be the Gasta Shore or a miler or the modern new hospitals that are being built. Highways and bridges. power plants. I rather suspect sir that twenty twenty-two shall be remembered as the year in which this great transformation began.I suppose I would say sir, I would put it differently that if this era is a special era in Ghana’s history and I believe we all agree that this era is a special era in Ghana’s history. And twenty twenty-two must be a special year within that era. Mister speaker, Indeed sir, I consider it a singular privilege to have been able to present this historic budget on behalf of this people’s progressive party government. Mister speaker, my forefront, I wouldn’t want to leave the podium without the following observation. My fervent hope is that this budget is judged on its merits. What it is doing for the people of Guyana. Yes. Yes. I have no doubt that it will it will be judged in that manner by the people of God. But my fervent hope is that it is judged in this house. Particularly by our colleagues on that side of the house. And I trust that they see this budget on its merits. Because I do believe sir that given its historic and transformative nature.Budget twenty twenty-two deserves the unanimous approbation of this honorable I will conclude I will conclude by acknowledging the very hard work done by my cabinet colleagues under of course the leadership of his excellency, the president. A lot of tremendous amount of work was done in all of the sectors. And of course the dozens of civil servants who contributed to the compilation of this budget. Especially that they did this while working with a very severely constrained and given given that covid-19 is still with us. And of course as I always do I saved the last word from my own team at the Ministry of Finance if you permit me that small prejudice sir. I saved the last word for my own team at the Ministry of Finance. Without whose tremendous work preparation of this historic budget would not have been possible. And whose contribution will be equally invaluable in the execution of this historic budget in the months and years ahead. Speaker. As I said a few minutes ago, on behalf of this people’s progressive party, civic government, the honor is mine to commend to this house budget 2022. Thank you very much. Thank you honorable Senior Minister in the office of the president with responsibility for finance, for taking us through that five hours and 15 minutes of your budget presentation.The question is now proposed. Hon orable Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Madam Gail Tier. Mister speaker, I move the adjournment of the assembly to January thirty-first, Monday at ten o’clock. For us to commence the debate on this outstanding budget of twenty twenty-two. Thank you, sir. other members. The house stands adjourned. The ten AM on January 2-six 202two. Sorry. January thirty-first twenty twenty-two.

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