Govt.US$85M Parliamentary request…Finance Minister’s latest demand disrespectful – Carl Greenidge
By Gary Eleazar
The Guyana Government, through its Finance Minister, has submitted two supplementary requests for monies to be advanced from the Consolidated Fund to meet unforeseen expenditure, but the request on the face isn’t sitting well with Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge.
The request, to the tune of some $13B (US$85 million) which will be debated for approval on Thursday, is being seen as almost disrespectful on the part of the opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
This publication spoke with Dr. Ashni Singh’s shadow counterpart, Carl Greenidge, who informed that a legislative requirement is unanswered.
This requirement, according to Greenidge, obligates the Minister to provide clearly defined details as it relates to the request for the expenditure.
“There is a general feeling of being disrespected by the Finance Minister as a result of the repeated submissions of Financial Papers, despite the demands for the accompanying information not being adhered to. Another glaring revelation in the request made by the Finance Minister was some $5B to be used as capital expenditure.”
Greenidge says that it was mere months ago, the 2012 expenditures were presented by Dr. Singh and that had accompanied a $6B request to subsidize the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL).
The APNU MP pointed with incredulity to a brand new request for some $5B which GPL sought through the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
“How could the Minister not have known about this large capital expenditure being requested now?”
While indicating that the $600M plus request to cater for the increase in old age pension will receive “unequivocal” support, Greenidge questioned the boldness of the resubmitted requests for agencies such as the State Planning Secretariat.
On this specific agency, he noted that it does not even exist anymore and wonders why the Government would want to allocate monies for something non-existent.
In relation to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), which the court had ruled should receive its money, and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Greenidge says that the question is about the placement of the money.
He explained that the cuts made to the budget were meant to have the administration abide with the recommendations of the Auditor General over the years as it relates to how the money should be allocated.
To this end, Greenidge argued that the court has no competence to pronounce on the structure in which the money is allocated.
He said that should the Finance Minister not satisfy the obligatory requirements by the time the matter comes up for debate and a vote, then the fate will remain the same.
During the past week the Finance Minister tabled in the National Assembly the first two supplementary financial papers for 2012 totaling some $13B (US$85M).
An additional amount – some $5.3B – is being requested to go to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat for the provision of a “26 megawatt power plant,” in addition to several sums that were gutted out of the 2012 Expenditures.
Dr. Singh, in his tabling of Financial Papers One and Two for 2012, is also asking for monies for the Government Information Agency (GINA) and National Communications Network (NCN)
The House will debate whether to approve the expenditures from the Consolidated Fund this Thursday before taking its scheduled recess.