Harmon says APNU/AFC Opposition to participate in Budget debate

Former Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon


The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition will be participating in the upcoming debates for Budget 2021 in the National Assembly.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon told media operatives on Tuesday that the party recognises that they are a minority when compared to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government’s 33-seat occupancy in the House. This means they cannot strike out any of the policies that are brought forward but only question some of the investments that were proposed to gain clarity.

“So far as us saying we can cut this or cut that, that is not a facility which is open to us right now in the Parliament. It is basically by virtue of the questions which we ask, the statements which we make, the speeches which we make in the National Assembly,” Harmon acknowledged.

Sittings of the National Assembly are being facilitated at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the debates will start in the coming days.

The coalition opposition has been boycotting the National Assembly sittings and just last year, they were a no-show at the actual presentation of the 2020 Emergency Budget.

Budget 2021, pegged at $383.1 billion, was presented last week by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh under the theme “A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism and Resilience” and it is the first full-term budget of the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Administration since his assumption to office in August 2020. Again, the APNU/AFC boycotted the 2021 Budget presentation.

This year’s budget is underpinned by six main pillars: navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring a diverse and resilient productive sector, initiating investment, establishing world-class social services, improving public services, and ensuring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.