The National Assembly last evening approved a supplementary request for the sum of $519,233,184 for the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to carry out its E-Governance Project.
Catered for in Financial Paper Number Two, of that amount, $37,700,000 was allocated for the rental of buildings. This sum caters for the rental of a warehouse to the tune of $9,000,000; parking lot $900,000 and regional outposts in Berbice, Linden and Essequibo for $800,000.
For the maintenance of buildings $450,000 was approved and for maintenance of other infrastructure $5,557,000, for postage, telex and cablegrams, $100,000; for vehicles spares and services, $3,150,000 for maintenance of nine vehicles, and equipment maintenance of head office.
Member of Parliament (MP) Gillian Burton-Persaud questioned the location of the head office. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes told the House that the head office is located at Foreshaw Street, Queenstown, Georgetown.
Minister of Public Telecommunications delivering her speech in parliament.
Under telephone service, $88,776,000 was approved to cater for internet and satellite services in hinterland communities.
MP Gail Teixeira questioned whether the Ministry will now be using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) which was normally used for relay and not internet. Minister Hughes advised that the Ministry is offering a service on the LTE networks and not the failed fiber optic cable.
Teixeira further questioned whether it is sustainable to be paying the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) for the internet service, and what are the services provided to the hinterland communities through the satellites. Teixeira also wanted to know whether the Government is considering the implementation of a fiber optic cable.
Minister Hughes noted that it is sustainable to pay GTT for the services because the Ministry will be pushing to have all the government agencies utilise these facilities. Minister Hughes said that the hinterland communities have internet access, and access to Government websites for information.
The sum of $22, 350,000 was also approved for the payment of three ministerial advisors and one consultant for the E-Governance project. This consultant, the Minister explained, will be the lead person to negotiate terms, conditions and other arrangements with the stakeholders in the sector.