The coalition government – which was toppled by a no-confidence motion since last year – has begun preparing for the 2020 National Budget.
Finance Circular No. 7/2019 was circulated to Head of Budget Agencies by the Finance Secretary, Michael Joseph.
Former Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill has since warned that Budget 2020 cannot be presented by this current government, which the parliamentary opposition has already deemed as “illegal”.
According to the circular, government wants the Budget Proposal presented to the National Assembly by November 25, 2019.
“It is unbelievable that a Government that was defeated by way of a No Confidence Vote on December 21, 2018 who by way of spurious and incredible arguments of a ‘34 majority theory’, used the legal system to buy themselves seven months and counting to implement a budget that they had no mandate to implement,” Edghill expressed in a statement to the media.
“Is someone being delusional or is it plain stubbornness? Or maybe it is a mentality that is being exposed that this Government believes that it can continue to hang on to power indefinitely. How desperate can one be?” he continued.
With the CCJ’s June 11, 2019 ruling that the government was defeated by the no-confidence motion, election ought to have been held since March 21, 2019. The country is currently waiting on consequential orders to determine how to proceed, and when elections should be held. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is demanding that elections be held as soon as reasonably possible, in three months.
In the meantime, until elections are held and a new and legitimate government is installed, Edghill is urging Heads of Budget Agencies to not be bullied into acting unconstitutionally.
“I hereby call on all Heads of Budget Agencies, Permanent Secretaries, Regional Executive Officers and Heads of Constitutional Bodies to familiarize themselves with the rulings of the CCJ which are available on their official website. Do not be bullied!”
Edghill further contended: “We in the PPP/C Parliamentary Opposition will not allow this folly and untamed ignorance coupled with the brazen arrogance of this APNU/AFC Government to go unchecked. No caretaker Government which is the current status of this Granger led Coalition should be allowed to be this blatant and disrespectful in its conduct. To pursue this illegality is to create an environment for collision and confrontation rather than conciliation and preserving the well-being of our people.”
He reasoned that the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act provide for a Budget by March/April, 2020. Therefore, he posited that there is no crisis and as such, no need for a budget to be presented now.
“A Budget which defines the vision, priorities and programs for the prosperity and development of all the people of Guyana by a Government that is legal, constitutional and democratically elected through free and fair elections, is the only one that will be accepted,” he stated.