The government, each year, presents a National Budget which represents the current and capital expenditures for the year but subsequent to that, each year there would be further requests for money by way of Supplementary Provisions to be extracted from the Contingencies Fund.
To date there have been four requests for additional funds and on Thursday last just prior to debating a request for almost $7B the Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh presented another request for an additional $3B. The debate for approval for expenditure of that money ending December 31, will be done on Thursday.
In August the Finance Minister moved to the House to ask for some $2,426,470,077 ($2.4 B) and on Thursday the National Assembly approved a request for $6.9B and a day before the end of the year they will seek approval for another $3B.
The national Budget for 2010 was $143B.
While it is within the realms of the law for the Government to spend monies from the Contingencies Fund and then seek approval after, the supplementary provisions that are sought for each year demonstrate the fact that the budget every year is deceitful, said Chairman of the Alliance For Change and Presidential Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Ramjattan recently told this newspaper that for years his party has been saying that the budget that Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh presents is misleading.
He said that the supplementary provisions that the government seeks every year are aimed at seeking to hide the extravagant and excessive spending which is incurred yearly.
Ramjattan opined that the government is seeking to hide the deficit that the government incurs each year, given that it is not presented in the budget but is expanded each year with the supplementary budget.
He said that the budget does not accurately represent what the government intends to spend each year.
According to Ramjattan, the budget represents one-expenditure, but the government each year misrepresents the expenditure by literally billions of dollars and later seeks the remainder of expenditure through the supplementary provisions.
The late Shadow Finance Minister Winston Murray when the first set of Supplementary Provisions was sought for this year, led the opposition questions in the debate. He chided the administration for what he called a “misleading 2010 Budget”.
He explained that several of the provisions being sought in the supplementary request have nothing to do with the originally voted provisions in the 2010 Budget, and were not accompanied by the corresponding profile document that would seek to clarify this.
Murray said that whilst he was not opposed to the actual projects that would be funded, he was critical of the manner in which the money was being sought and greater clarification should have been provided for the sake of better transparency.
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