Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein said he has no part to play in the allocation of resources to regional Corps. His response came after claims of an “urban bias” in the distribution of resources to UNC-led Corps. But he assured citizens that there will be a more equitable distribution of resources once local government reform comes on stream.
In an interview, Hosein said he was not in charge of resource allocation and so he could not comment on claims by the Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that UNC-led Corps were getting far fewer resources than PNM Corps.
He explained that each Corp puts out their budget requests which are then sent to the Ministry of Finance. Asked on what grounds resources were allocated, Hosein said he did not know as this was not under his purview.
“You need to speak to the Finance Ministry to find out the criteria for resource distribution. We don’t have a say in that,” he added.
He noted, “Once the local government reform comes in Corps will have to collect their own taxes and they will have direct contact with the Ministry of Finance. That issue will resolve itself when the reform comes in so the Corps can negotiate for what it wants.”
Over the past week, the UNC-led Siparia and Penal/Debe Regional Corp chairman Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh and Dr Allen Sammy complained that they were unable to service the areas because of limited funds. Issues of garbage collection and water distribution have been compromised in several areas. Ramadharsingh said the Corp has received only one-twelfth of its financial allocation from Central Government because of untimely releases from the Ministry of Finance.
“We have no money to purchase proper sanitation gear and our workers are refusing to go in and do the work. This has caused an infestation of rats, mosquitoes and pests,” Ramadharsingh said.
“ How can that be acceptable? This is not development, it is rural neglect.”
Sammy also said his Corp was allocated $82 million budget for fiscal 2019 and $67 million was appropriated for recurrent expenditure such as salaries, rent and maintenance while $13.9 million was for its development programmes such as drainage projects, vehicle purchases and road repairs. He noted that the Corp cannot afford to pay T&TEC and WASA the $2.1 million it owes for supplies to its facilities, $19,000 for vehicle maintenance and $43,000 to external water suppliers among others.
FISCAL 2019 Estimates
Location Population Size Allocation
Port-of-Spain City Corp 37,999 223,972,000
San Fernando City Corp 50,429 130,950,900
Arima Borough Corp 29,073 78,262,800
Point Fortin Borough Corp 16,874 63,430,600
Chaguanas Borough Corp 67,055 79,442,800
Diego Martin Regional Corp 88,151 100, 879,200
San Juan/Laventille Regional Corp 135,840 169,175,500
Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corp 174,647 179,060,800
Sangre Grande Regional Corp 57,105 80,715,800
Couva/Tabaquite/Talporo Regional Corp 147,438 111,892,000
Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corp 29,511 82,041,100
Siparia Regional Corp 71,802 75,668,800
Penal/Debe Regional Corp 76,427 64,700,700
Princes Town Regional Corp 81,420 83,261,900
- SOURCE Draft Estimates of Recurrent Expenditure 2019, Pg. 260