Gov’t ‘unauthorized’ spending is illegal, contentious and an affront – Opposition

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By Kurt Campbell

APNU Member of Parliament, Joseph Harmon.
APNU Member of Parliament, Joseph Harmon.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Parliamentarian, Joseph Harmon says the move by the government to return to the House with financial papers for monies disapproved in the 2014 budget could be seen as contentious and an affront, while Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge contends that it is downright disrespectful and illegal.

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh yesterday tabled in the National Assembly a financial paper for monies spent in excess of $4.5 billion to cover excess for which funding was disapproved in the 2014 budget.

Among monies restored are for the University of Guyana student loan fund, the National Communications Network, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport modernization project, the Office of the President and the Amerindian Development Fund among others.

According to Harmon, the administration has already extracted all the Public Relations and propaganda they could have from the Budget cuts and seem to be returning for another “bite of the cherry.”

Meanwhile, Greendige sent a stern warning to the government, saying that the Minister clearly has spent money which the Opposition controlled Assembly explicitly disapproved.

“I believe to have spent money in such circumstances without using the contingency fund and the criteria set out there or without seeking to do it by a supplementary provision is illegal and we will respond and treat with it in that context,” he said.

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh

He explained that it is very likely that the Minister could be taken before the Committee of Privileges. The administration claims 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.

The $4.5B is part of the total sum of the reduction of over $37B from the initial $220B fiscal plan. Cabinet Secretary Dr, Roger Luncheon had explained that the entire sum disapproved may be restored in keeping with constitutional, administrative and moral obligations of the administration by the end of the fiscal year.

This 4.5B financial paper will be considered at the next sitting of the House.

 

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