Finance Minister Winston Jordan will present the country’s estimates and expenditure for 2017 on November 28, 2016, a week earlier than was previously announced.
Earlier this year, Government had announced that Budget 2017 would have been presented on December 9. However, Speaker Dr Barton Scotland in “Parliament Corner” – a column published in the dailies – announced that the Budget will now be presented on November 28.
People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira said on Monday that her Party was consulted on the change; in fact, it was herself and Government Chief Whip Amna Ally who met and agreed on the change.
According to Teixeira, the date was brought forward as it was found that leaving the presentation on December 5 meant that the actual debates could run into Christmas Eve.
The PPP/C had late last month said it did not support the passage of an early budget, noting that the dynamics of the situation limits its scrutiny of Government’s performance.
The PPP/C is contending that it will not get to examine and compare the actual expenditure for 2016, since the 2017 Budget will be presented and debated while the 2016 Budget is still being implemented.
Former Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill explained that the books for the fiscal year close on December 31; therefore, if the Budget is presented before that date, then figures on the various Ministries and agencies’ performance would not be available for comparison during the budget debates.
Edghill maintained that there was no haste for an early budget presentation, noting historically, the country’s Budget was presented in the first quarter of the fiscal year. He noted too that there were already mechanisms in place for the interim spending of the Government, which is 1/12 of the previous budget, until the new budget is presented and passed. (Guyana Times)