The combined Opposition along with the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will begin the consideration of the estimates of Budget 2014 tomorrow (Monday, March 30) and both opposition parties (AFC, APNU) have indicated that they will not support certain aspects of the budget.
During an iNews’ Poll last week the question “Do you think the Opposition will support the 2014 budget as presented by the Minister of Finance?” was asked.
In response 72 percent of participants voted ‘no’, a mere 26 percent voted ‘yes’ and two percent was undecided.
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Monday, March 24 presented a whopping $220B National Budget for the financial year 2014 as he boasted of eight years of consecutive economic growth (2006 -2013) under his stewardship, representing the longest period of uninterrupted growth.
This year’s budget is not only record breaking in terms of its individual provisions but is also the largest national budget ever presented in the history of Guyana’s independence dating back to 47 years ago.
The Opposition over the last two years, using its one seat majority, managed to cut government’s proposed budget by billions of dollars and in some cases starving government agencies and projects which they believe were undeserving of money.
This led to administration to take the Opposition to Court. However, the combined Opposition remains firm in its understanding of the procedures of Parliament and remains unmoved by the Chief Justice Ian Chang’s High Court ruling regarding their inability to cut the National Budget.
Both Opposition parties have expressed their intent to ignore the Chief Justice’s (CJ’s) ruling, citing the separation of powers between the Legislative and Judicial arms of the Constitution and the rules of Parliament which allows the Opposition more than “approval or disapproval” before passing it in the National Assembly.
Both sides have stated that unless the Caribbean Court of Justice rules on the matter, the Parliamentary Opposition will remain firm in its position of the Budget cut matter.
Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman recently appealed the ruling. Budget 2014 was presented under the theme: ‘A better Guyana for all Guyanese’.