NCN, GINA subsidies gutted from the budget

NCN, GINA subsidies gutted from the budget

April 25, 2012 –    The combined opposition AFC and APNU on Wednesday voted to cut the GUY$211M in subsidies to the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA) saying that they have failed to live up to their national onligations as public entities. (Note: US$1= GUY$200)

The cuts reduced NCN’s GUY$81.2M and GINA’s GUY$130.4M subventions under the Office of the President heading to $1 each when consideration of the 2012 national budget in the National Assembly.  

The parties had initially proposed to cut the entire heading under which the subsidies are listed, a total of GUY$918.7M but this was amended to GUY$211.5M when the sitting began. The cuts were the first of the 2012 budget and saw the parties using their one-seat majority in the 65-seat National Assembly, situation the government has oft referred to as the “tyranny of one.”

The subvention to NCN represents a fraction of  the money going to the entity with junior finance minister Juan Edghill revealing in the House that NCN’s total income for 2011 was some GUY$508.8M.

Speaker Raphael Trotman had asked the opposition members what they would like to see urging that there be no end to political dialogue. APNU’s Carl Greenidge responded that in the lead up to the sitting they had failed to come to any understanding with the government on the reforms they were seeking.

Junior finance minister Juan Edghill had stated before the vote that some 38 employees would be sent home from GINA if the cuts went through. He also pointed out that every government is entitled to an information outfit.

Speaking to the media afterward finance minister Dr. Ashni Singh said the people need to be informed and Wednesday’s move was contradictory.

“You cannot on the one hand argue in favour of a well-informed citizenry and on the other hand denude and esentially seek to demobilise and to bring into non-existence a government information agency; these two things simply don’t go together,” Dr. Singh said.

On the NCN cut the minister praised the quality of the work produced by the company and intimated that taking away the subvention would impair that output and called the cut “irresponsible.” On what happens next at GINA Dr. Singh said they will have to look at their options.

“While this did not come as a complete surprise we all government did hope that good sense would prevail, regrettably good sense did not prevail. We will now have to contemplate next steps; the task of compiling and disseminating government information must continue. We need to reflect how best to do this and the very important work that NCN does must continue as well.”  (Demerara Waves).

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  • Helen  On 04/25/2012 at 11:32 pm

    Well that government information organization was just a Propaganda machine anyway and never told Guyanese the truth. I agree with the cuts to these government organizations. They can get by very easily even with the cutback of funds. They need to put money into upgrading the medical care systems in Guyana, the educational system and the police force. Without financial commitments in these areas, Guyana will never get ahead.

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