[www.inewsguyana.com] – As the National Assembly prepares to examine the 2014 National Budget estimates on Wednesday, April 09, the Alliance For Change (AFC) says there is still time for negotiations, even “at this 25th hour.”
According to the Party, the government will be held responsible if the budget is not approved. In a press statement issued, the AFC accused the government of using ‘trickery’ in preparing this year’s national budget.
“The Government, though fully aware that the AFC would not give its support for a few of their pet projects and ‘rag-tag’ ventures that serve only to enrich the PPP and its cronies have sought to lump the allocations for these projects with projects that the AFC would be inclined to support. One example of this is the allocations for NCN and GINA being lumped with allocations for security at the Office of the President. This sort of budgeting is deceitful; it is trickery and an attempt by the government to foster bad spending by hiding it under layers of good spending. The government will not be allowed to get away with such underhand budgeting practices,” the political party said.
According to the AFC, when the examination of the estimates starts in the Committee of Supply on Wednesday, the Party will be asking serious questions and will be expecting serious and detailed answers.
“At this stage the Party would make strong recommendations for the Finance Minister to amend his estimates or face the likelihood of not having the estimates approved.”
The AFC reiterated that “at the end of the day, it is up to the Minister of Finance to bring to the National Assembly, a Budget that the House can approve. At this late stage he must stand guided by what transpires in the Committee of Supply. The ball is in the Minister’s court.”
The Party made it clear that it has no desire to deprive any person of their job or their wages or any community of real development and neither is it their desire to ‘shut down’ the Government.
“However, it is the duty of a responsible government to separate bona fide, legitimate and reasonable spending from the areas of ‘slush and sleaze’. Should the Government attempt to force on the opposition a budget riddled with ‘pet projects’ it would be to their detriment and they would have to answer to the people.”
According to the AFC, while it supports the vast majority of the allocations in the 2014 Budget, the Party would be hard pressed to support a few allocations and it is in this context that they have made a last-minute appeal for dialogue.