Billions earmarked for Amerindian development in Budget 2024

-As Toshao council to be included in budget consultations for the first time – President Ali

The government announced that billions of dollars would go to Amerindian development in Budget 2024 to fast-track the development of Guyana’s first people while the chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) would be included in the consultation to frame the nation’s annual fiscal plan for the first time.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing leaders on the final day of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference

This was revealed by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali who made the announcement during an engagement with village leaders on the final day of the NTC Conference, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), as he outlined a series of initiatives to be undertaken by his administration.

He said this move is considered monumental since this is the first time in Guyana’s history that the body will now be included in the financial planning to foster development and empower the country’s first people.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, along with President Ali

“This will be the first time in the history of our country, that the Toshao council will sit with the Minister of Finance in further consultation and crystallisation of your budget for your communities and your people. We believe strongly in your voice, we believe strongly in your ideas but more importantly, we respect your voice, and we respect your ideas,” President Ali expressed.

President Ali interacting with Amerindian leaders upon conclusion of the 2023 NTC Conference

Meanwhile, President Ali said almost $35 billion will be set aside for infrastructure development in areas including healthcare, and education specifically in the 2024 National Budget, while another $10.4 billion will be allocated for priority needs.

The head of state noted that the sums are a reflection of the indigenous communities’ needs that were raised during the five-day conference.

“The Minister of Finance has already started to input these priorities into the budget programme … we are now going to invite back, your Toshao (NTC’s Chairman) during the budget consultation process…to sit down with the Minister of Finance,” Dr Ali added.

Additionally, to support food security efforts in these communities, another $300 million will be earmarked in next year’s budget, specifically for hinterland agriculture development.

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