Finance Minister spends money without Parliamentary approval

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By Kurt Campbell

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has restored monies that were disapproved by the National Assembly in the 2014 Budget, according to Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.

Dr. Luncheon told reporters this morning (Wednesday, June 18), that the Minister relied on the Constitution and ruling by the Court on the matter of ‘budget cuts’ to initiate his exercise of restoration of appropriations in the 2014 fiscal year.

Dr. Singh will be moving to the House tomorrow with Financial Papers for the monies that were spent but were not approved by the National Assembly.

When asked about the exact amount of monies restored so far, Dr. Luncheon could not provide details. He did point out that it was part of the total sum of the reduction of over $37B from initial $220B fiscal plan.

He explained that before the end of the fiscal year, the entire sum disapproved may be restored in keeping with constitutional, administrative and moral obligations of the administration.

The Cabinet Secretary pointed out that the monies so far include monies to fund the operations of the Office of the President from which over $5B was disapproved and extends to the other eight areas that funding was not disapproved.

Among the other agencies for which funding was disapproved is the National Communications Network (NCN), Government Information Agency (GINA), Specialty Hospital, upgrading of Regional and District Hospitals,  Amerindian Development Fund, Cheddi Jagan International Airport,   Civil Aviation and Hinterland Airstrips, Rights Commission, Student Loan Fund, Poverty Programme and the Basic Needs Trust Fund among others.

Dr. Luncheon said, “the consequences were of no concern to the Opposition..of no concern to the APNU and the AFC.”

He stressed that the Minister’s remedy of restoration is catered for in the constitution for each agency or project that money has been restored. He said the restoration addressed the inadequacy of expenditure.

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