[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh says that despite the lack of dialogue with the political opposition, preparations for Budget 2015 which are constitutionally due by the end of the first quarter of the year are continuing.
This however, depends on the evolvement of the Parliamentary situation and whatever the outcome, the Finance Ministry will be ready to produce a budget when called upon to do so, Minister Singh said.
Speaking on ‘Political Scope’ on the National Communications Network with, Minister Singh agreed that in Budget 2014, the many positive outlooks for Guyana’s economy and projections were boosted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) predictions which balanced the country’s performance over the past eight years.
Observing that preparations for Budget 2015 are ongoing, Minister Singh explained that the cycle begins early each year. The Minister also observed that a commitment by Government to the country has seen a lot of technical work already done. This includes meetings with Ministries and other units with the budget preparation team working towards the expectation of the requirement to produce a budget.
The Minister pointed also to the opposition’s rejections of talks before the 2013 budget, and rejection of talks on the Amaila Falls project which met the same fate after an initial meeting.
“The unavailability of the opposition for talks is beyond dispute,” he stated.
However, this unwillingness by the political opposition to engage the government does not hinder the preparation of the 2015 Budget. Minister Singh noted that Government is aware of the requirements of the opposition through various means such as public statements, and calls made in previous budget debates all leading to an accumulation of information on what are their views.
Observing that the Opposition has cut every budget presented in the tenth parliament, Minister Singh noted that they have never presented any alternative which the administration could accept instead. He highlighted the ‘bundle of objections’ which were laid without alternatives and adjusting priorities.
Whilst hesitating to put a figure forward, Minister Singh observed that the growth prediction for Guyana’s economy is positive. [Extracted and modified from GINA]