Nov 29, 2016 News
The Government of Guyana hailed the Minister of Finance Winston Jordan’s presentation of the 2017 National Budget as historical since it was the third National Budget delivered by the Coalition Administration within 18 months.
Minister Jordan entered the Parliamentary Chambers around 14:00hrs yesterday afternoon with media operatives hot on his trail.
He was greeted with admiration by his government colleagues as they tapped repeatedly and rhythmically on their desks. The path leading to his seat was clear as he received handshakes and a few fist bumps along with some occasional close-quarter hugs. The Government Members of Parliament (MPs) were undoubtedly ecstatic.
The mood of the Members of Parliament (MP) on the opposite side however, was somewhat sombre. Nevertheless, the Minister seemed ready, as he distanced himself from his colleagues and began preparing.
Meanwhile, observers began flooding into the viewing gallery as members of the Private Sector, students, Guyana Police Force ranks and some vendors were seen scouting for seats.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo after the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland entered, requested that the Standing Orders be suspended to allow the Minister of Finance to deliver his speech which was being translated by sign language specialists. This was the first time in history this has occurred.
The House Speaker later revealed that it was an initiative of the Ministry of Finance.
Jordan rose and moved the motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for the Financial Year 2017 and, in doing so, he indicated Cabinet’s recommendation that the National Assembly proceed upon this motion, pursuant to Article 171, Paragraph 2, of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
The motion was carried and Jordan took to the podium to deliver his three and a half hour-long presentation which saw members of the opposition paying keen attention.
“It is my distinct pleasure to deliver Budget 2017, the third budget of the Coalition Government in just over a year and half in office. While this, by itself, must be something of a record, perhaps, of greater import is that this budget is the first, in four decades, to be presented before the start of the fiscal year,” the Minister said, and paused awhile as the tapping resumed in approval.
He continued, “Of interest, too, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that apart from Budget 1976, which was presented on November 24, 1975 by former Minister of Finance, Mr. Frank Hope, this budget is the earliest to be presented to the National Assembly, since our country gained Independence.”
Minister Jordan added that not only was this a “signal achievement”, but a testament to the Government’s stated resolve to return budgeting to its deserved place within the accountability and governance framework, so that it can “best serve its critical functions of economic management; financial management; management of government; and effective implementation of government’s policies.”
The Minister said that in recognition of the importance of timely budget presentation and passage to the delivery of government’s projects and programmes, the Government is considering a fixed date for the delivery of future budgets.
This statement too gained high praises. Some opposition members were seen nodding their heads in agreement.
The Budget was presented under the theme, “Building a Diversified Green Economy: Delivering the Good Life to All Guyanese.”
After the session, a moment of silence was observed for the recently deceased Former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
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