Only three (3) and a half (1/2) months passed since the Government’s $383Billion 2021 Budget was approved in the National Assembly and already the PPP administration has returned with two (2) financial papers seeking an additional $23Billion dollars and it was now revealed that mere weeks after Budget 2021 was approved the PPP secretly swiped almost $2Billion from the Contingency Fund.
This is according to a statement by Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, who noted that these monies have already been expended without any oversight or accountability by the National Assembly “which the PPP is now seeking approval for after the fact.”
“This is vulgar mismanagement of the economy at an unprecedented level and is symptomatic of extraordinarily poor economic planning, incompetence and the sort of ‘ad hocracy’ which is characteristic of the PPP under Bharrat Jagdeo, and latterly, his eager collaborator Dr. Ashni Singh. The PPP has already squandered almost $2B from the Contingency Fund and is now seeking another $21Billion without having provided adequate justification or explanation. A total of $23Billion of squandermania.”
Harmon reminded that the Constitution and Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) provide that for the use of the Contingency Fund, the Minister of Finance must be satisfied that the expenditure is “Urgent, Unavoidable and Unforeseen” and no other provision exists.
He acknowledged that it is obvious that some funds are needed to bring relief to the thousands who are suffering as a result of severe flooding but stated that the other issues for which the PPP seeks funding are unacceptable.
“It is clearly in breach of the provisions of the Constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and belies a more sinister activity of corrupt spending with friends and cronies of the PPP. The PPP is seeking funding to purchase motorbikes, a marine vessel, upgrade grounds and to fix roads. None of these can be considered emergency or unforeseen. Sums have already been approved in Budget 2021 for the purchase of motorcycles, for land and water transport, for road maintenance and upgrades to grounds.”
“Why this sudden $618million request to purchase an offshore patrol vessel for the Guyana Defence Force? Why was this not budgeted in the 2021 Budget? Why is it necessary now?” he questioned.
According to the Opposition Leader, clearly these “expeditions” cannot be unforeseen and urgent.
He further stated that the PPP is attempting to manage Guyana’s economy in an unplanned and incoherent manner without any studied analysis, forecasting or economic projections.
“We call on the PPP to operationalize the Natural Resource Fund at once. The NRF Act provides for emergency funding in the case of natural disaster such as we are currently experiencing. The PPP regime has thus far studiously refused to operationalize the NRF, clearly as it requires a high degree of public transparency and accountability and it mandatorily involves the Opposition and civil society.”
Harmon also reminded that Guyanese are suffering with skyrocketing prices for basic food items and “now they are being saddled with additional debt with the already massive budget deficit climbing to over $130bBillion as a result of fiscal recklessness by Bharrat Jagdeo, Ashni Singh, Irfaan Ali and the hapless PPP cabal.”
According to his statement, this has resulted in massive borrowing, pressure on the domestic banking system financing including an increase in the overdraft at the Bank of Guyana, which stood at $139Billion in April this year compared with a more manageable $89Billion at August 2, 2020.
“In less than a year the PPP has sunken the Guyanese people in more than $50Billion in crushing debt burden. This will have a devastating effect on the Guyana economy and on the lives of the ordinary people who will be saddled with the additional economic burden of a reckless administration.”