The incumbent A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) has come under greater criticism by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) about its wastage of taxpayers’ money and the nation’s resources.
FITUG President Carvil Duncan, in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times, was addressing the Auditor General’s report and deemed it quite worrying.
He noted that the expenditure of the Government was ultimately financed by the taxpaying Guyanese public, hence Guyanese were looking to ensure that their monies were used in a prudent manner to ensure maximum benefit and return.
“It is not only a waste of our resources, it is incompetent people doing this and that is a clear indication how the APNU works, because they are giving out a lot of contracts and doing a lot of things; there is no feedback and, therefore, they got a system where they assume that whenever they gave contracts, somebody get a drawback,” Duncan explained.
Shifting his attention to the excessive cost of drugs in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Duncan said he was “disappointed” over the financial misadventures, adding that the Government could explore other avenues right in Guyana to cut the excessive cost of drugs.
“We are not only concerned, we come beyond that because what has been happening is that we have been buying a lot of inferior drugs and imposing it on the population of this country when we have a drug company here who produces drugs at a better standard and we are not purchasing from them. That is the problem we have. We are saying charity begins at home, so why should you import a drug for insulin, for example, when you can produce insulin here?” Duncan cited.
Moreover, he stated that the report was definitely an eye-opener and has revealed how taxpayers’ monies were being recklessly spent, noting that he has a problem with that amount of spending, of his hard-earned money.
“I rely heavily on the competence of the Auditor General and once he criticised something, he has a foundation to criticise it and based on that I am saying that what he criticised is accurate and is true and I have some serious difficulties when the Government is not adhering to the thoughts expressed by the Auditor General,” he said.
Duncan also pointed out how oppressive taxes have become, with taxes per capita rising by over 60 per cent in the life of the coalition Administration.
“At a time when our nation’s workers have to pinch and squeeze and use innovative means to survive and make their ends meet, we have to learn about the poor accountability and planning that pervades,” he stated.
According to the 2018 Auditor General Report, the Government was flagged for overpaying some $166 million of taxpayers’ dollars on contracts. According to the report, a number of ministries were guilty of this practice.
In some instances, various Ministries and departments overpaid contractors as much as $92.3 million. The Public Infrastructure Ministry, according to the report, accounted for $63.7 million, but a whopping $73.7 million was overpaid by regional administrations. Regions Two, Eight, Nine and 10 were responsible for 70 per cent of this sum.
The AG also experienced some difficulties in his audit, as some $800 million in payment vouchers was not presented to his auditors.
The report stated that this sum is equivalent to 582 vouchers. The Ministries of the Presidency and Natural Resources were among those culpable.
The AG noted that as a result, it could not be ascertained whether the money was used for the intended purposes.