Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips said that the Government has consistently presented budgets to enhance prosperity for Guyanese.
During his presentation to the National Assembly on day five of the Budget 2024 debates, he spoke of the Government’s ambitious plans for the fiscal year and to the $1.146tn as a “strategic investment in our country’s foundation for the future”.
Budget 2024, the Prime Minister said, consists of concrete plans that are part of the Government’s comprehensive vision for holistic development.
“Beyond infrastructure, significant allocations are directed generously to all sectors to ensure that through our country’s rapid development, every citizen will benefit from our new fund wealth.”
The budget, he explained, allocates substantial funds to infrastructure development, which is key for development and growth.
“Our budget is a strategic investment in our country’s foundation for the future. As is evident, the majority, which is allocated infrastructure development is pivotal in creating a robust framework for sustained growth throughout Guyana. Roads, bridges, and energy projects are not just constructions they are lifelines that connect our people and drive economic vitality.”
The Gas-to-Energy Project was also listed as transformative with 6.8% of the balance of plant site preparation already completed with “significant progress” made on key components. He projected that it “is on track for start-up before the next election” which would see citizens paying “approximately 50% less for electricity”.
“Our Government’s focus on monetising gas reserves is evident through the drafted and submitted discussion paper seeking input from citizen to shape the national gas strategy. “Mr Speaker, the incorporation of citizen feedback will play a pivotal role in finalising the strategy.
“Mr Speaker, building on the progress made in the previous year, the Gas-to-Energy project is on track for start-ups supported by advancements in onshore and offshore pipeline installations, the continuity of installation campaigns and development initiatives in 2024 underscores a sustained effort to bring this transformative project to fruition before the next election in Guyana, which is due by the end of 2025.”
On renewable energy, he reported a remarkable 173% increase in installed solar PV capacity from 5.3 kW to 14.6 MW between 2020 and 2023. Plans for 2024 include more solar farms, mini grids and home installations that “would transform lives”.
“These are projects that we will continue to deliver to the people. Over 28,000 household solar systems were already delivered to over 120,000 people … benefiting from them, and more will be delivered in 2024 because the budget, the $1.146tn budget caters for the continuation of these projects.
“The PV systems will serve the essential social, healthcare educational facilities, including schools, health centres, village offices, multipurpose buildings, meeting halls, public living quarters and households. This has transformed the lives of people throughout our hinterland and riverine areas.”
The National Assembly also heard that significant progress has been made in expanding and upgrading Guyana’s ICT infrastructure. Improvements are ongoing to ensuring more resilient internet access even in remote areas, as the Government remains focused on providing wider access to ICT education and online services.
These progressive steps, Prime Minister Phillips explained, falls under the budgetary allocations to the National Data Management Authority, Hinterland Development and via training through the Industry and Innovation Unit.
In the telecommunications sector, increased competition is already paying dividends after liberalisation in 2020 ended the previous monopoly. He stated that private sector investment increased by 40%, while mobile and broadband subscriptions saw double-digit growth.
The Prime Minister, who holds responsibility for the energy sector, also cited plans to continue along the trajectory of success for power generation by utilising the budgeted allocations for strategic and transformative projects for the nation’s power supply.
“We will continue to invest in GPL to improve in the short term, its continued supply of stable electricity, which will get better with every day for the people of Guyana.”
He invited all parties to unite behind Budget 2024, which he said is aimed at national prosperity. “I call on my honourable friends on the other side of the House to join us and support this budget for all of Guyana to move forward with a prosperous future ahead”.
The Prime Minister also expressed his confidence in Guyana’s outlook during 2025 and beyond.
“Under the leadership of our PPP/C Government, and united as one people and One Guyana, we shall reap a harvest of unparalleled success for Guyana and every one of our citizens.”