Opposition, Government to meet again for budget consultations
While Finance Minister Ashni Singh says, that the 2013 budget is a work in progress, the Parliamentary Opposition is awaiting word on the next three-way consultation talks.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) executive member and Parliamentarian, Lance Carberry, told media operatives on Monday, that ever since an initial tripartite meeting which was held between the Government and executives of the combined opposition on budget issues, there has been no further word from the current Administration.
Carberry told reporters that at the tripartite meeting, it was agreed that both opposition parties would submit their views on issues they felt needed to be dealt with. “So far, both parties have done so and there has been no word from the Government.”
Minister Singh however said on Wednesday that he would be convening a follow up meeting of the three parties to discuss and ventilate the various issues highlighted by the opposition parties. He noted that the technical aspect of the budget has been on the way for some time and he has already engaged members of the Parliamentary opposition.
Singh said that about a month ago, opposition members were invited to a meeting where discourse was favourable. He added that initial comments and observations were presented by the opposition, together with a number of references about ongoing issues that both the opposition and the government shared.
The Finance Minister further noted that submissions on issues of interest and priorities were asked to be made by the opposition members and so far, both parties, he said have done so.
He said that those submissions are being looked at by the Government and are being given careful considerations. Many of the issues raised by the opposition, the Minister said, did not come as a “huge surprise, since many of the issues have been publicly ventilated.”
Singh further revealed that at the second meeting it is expected that the opposition’s concerns would be discussed and ventilated in greater detail. On a general note, Singh mentioned that the Government continues to engage, on a broader sense, stakeholders to get feedback on issues and priorities that are perceived to be of importance.
It is the Minister’s hope, he said, that with the conclusion of the 2013 budget, it will be one that will “continue to serve the cause of development in the country.”