By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has lashed out at critics who have accused the administration of abusing its powers in utilizing monies set aside in the contingency fund.
In response to a publication in one section of the media which credited statements expressing worry in this regard to Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, the Finance Minister has counter proposed that such sentiments are misrepresented and intended to score cheap political points.
Speaking to the media late Thursday (June 12), Dr. Singh reminded that for all the monies utilized from the Fund in the 9th and 10th Parliament, it was approved by the House. He made the case that by this virtue the administration should not be made to take blame for such spending.
“Parliament had voted on every single instance of access… how can we be accused of abuse?” Dr. Singh questioned.
He said even if one was to make the case that the government held the majority in the 9th Parliament, then there should be no excuse for the monies approved in the 10th Parliament where the Opposition holds a majority.
Dr. Singh explained further that a total of $9.4B was requested during the 10th Parliament, over six financial papers, for which $8.7B was approved, which equates to a 92.6% approval.
“So where is the abuse?” he asked, adding that “in fact we are happy that we could have cause the Parliament to approve more than 90%, it shows that our request was worthy of approval.”
He maintained that the figures which were approved represent an overwhelming endorsement of the spending and rejected the notion that there was abuse on the government’s part.
The Contingency Fund is a reserve of money set aside to cover emergencies. The Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) sets out a criterion for what situations can qualify as an emergency and as such warrant use of funds.