By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon says APNU’s Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge is, “barking up the wrong tree” following his move to the High Court to block government from accessing the US$32.16M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB) that was recently granted.
Speaking at his post cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, March 25 at the Office of the President, Dr Luncheon affirmed that traditionally government has benefitted significantly from external loans and grants. In this regard, he noted that government has become dependent on this type of financing which is outside of its budgetary allocations to continue along its developmental trajectory to the benefit Guyanese.
Explaining further, Dr. Luncheon added that Greenidge’s actions are contradictory since during his time in government under the People’s National Congress Reform, (PNC/R) as Finance Minister, he played an integral part in negotiating and arranging loans and grants for various projects.
Additionally, Dr. Luncheon added that the Shadow Finance Minister’s contention that government should not be given access to the loan in the absence of a sitting parliament to approve it is unfounded, since based on legal advice there is no provision in the constitution that forbids the sitting government from engaging and contracting services .
“What the constitution does provide for is Executive Government in the face of Parliament not sitting to have preserved its powers including access to financing and as well as those other function that have been provided for in the constitution and by statures for the Executive Government.”
When questioned whether there is suspension on new projects and accessing loans in the run up to any General and Regional Elections, he responded, “I have never heard about it and even if it were so….it would mean statured constitutional provision that precludes Government from doing such and my contention is based on legal advice no such restrictions exits, the powers and authority of the Executive Government we’re told are to being exercised in an unfettered way during the period when the Appropriation Act is not in place and in line with the existing constitutional and stator provisions.”
The IDB’s office here stated that the loans are geared toward the Strengthening of the Environment Sector 11 initiative and the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme. This is the second loan operation in the programme that was approved by the IDB in 2013.
The approval was made possible by full achievement of all the policy reforms agreed in 2013, as well as the maintenance of an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework.
Greenidge moved to the Court, requesting that the proceeds under the Loan Agreements be paid into the Consolidated Fund.