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Shadow Minister for Local Government and Regional Development, Ganesh Mahipaul is challenging Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall to account for a $685 million approved for the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) Project. The sum, according to Mahipaul, reflects budgetary allocation from 2020-2022.
SLED was a project implemented during the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government. The community-based project is aimed at providing funding to individuals and organisations to engage in activities in areas such as Information Communication Technologies (ICT), tourism, agriculture, livestock and apiculture and their value-added spill-off.
Taking to his social media account, Mahipaul said since 2020 the Ministry under the “zealot leadership of Dharamlall has failed to provide to the nation the total amount of job opportunities and employment created, the total amount of training programmes, enhanced skills and competency and the social and cultural cohesion programmes that were birthed.”
The shadow minister, in making enquiries on the spending, informed he has been “guided that all the monies from [SLED] allotment were distributed to friends and family members of the PPP without any accountability or transparent process.”
I am further guided that the Permanent Secretary, Prema Roopnarine who is a creature of the PPP, is complicit in the act of giving out the taxpayers’ money to friends and family members of the PPP, he stated.
“I therefore take this opportunity to call on the Auditor General of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to conduct a forensic audit on the SLED programme allotment and to provide a report on that expenditure soonest to the people of Guyana.”
The shadow minister is one of the eight APNU+AFC Members of Parliament (MPs) presently suspended from the National Assembly. The matter was taken to the court by the MPs and last week the court ordered the matter be heard soonest given its national importance.