Below is a statement by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon On Financial Papers Brought to the National Assembly by the PPP:
“Tomorrow Thursday 16th Dec, 2021 the PPP will bring for passage two (2) financial papers totalling $26.5B 15 days before the close of the year and when Government
books are to be closed on midnight 31 Dec, 2021.
December 2021, just a few days before the end of the year I informed the Guyanese public about the financial papers the PPP brought to the National Assembly seeking additional funds after their squandermania of the public purse. Well here I am again with more startling revelations of the PPP’s continued poor economic management and incompetence.
On December 28, 2020, the PPP came to parliament with financial papers, requesting supplementary budgetary allocations of some 17.4 billion dollars and approval of $792 million which was already taken from the contingency fund between October to December 2020.
In June of 2021, I indicated to the nation that the PPP in a mere
3 and 1/2 months after the 2021 $383Billion Budget
was approved by the National Assembly returned to the
national assembly with two financial papers seeking an
additional 23 Billion dollars, of which 21Billion was
secretly swiped from the Contingency Fund. These monies
were expended without any oversight or accountability by
the National Assembly.
If as is slated in the Agency Code 21-212 description –
subsidies and consultations to local organisations.
Why is the Minister walking around with a canister of
money to pay the workers and NOT a transfer to
GUYSUCO allowing them to pay the workers – This is
cheap politics by the PPP using the taxpayers money.
Now here we are in December of 2021 and these expert
pilferers are coming again to the National Assembly a
few days before the end of the year to request that the house approves a further $5.1 billion that they have already taken from the contingency fund and $21.4 Billion dollars supplementary provision that they plan on spending over
the next two weeks.
Here is what the squandermania includes;
$3.9 billion was taken out of the contingency fund for
one off cash grant to sugar workers, out of crop support for GUYSUCO and operational expense for NDIA
- Nothing was stated under this line item to justify the urgent and unforeseen circumstance that required Dr Ashni Singh to go into the contingency fund.
- That the PPP found urgency in paying this money to GUYSUCO while sims of money in the budget could have facilitated a much larger increase than 7% for public servants is unconscionable.
- In June of this year the PPP boasted that GUYSUCO was able to save 1.7 billion by changing its sales mix, yet they are coming for more bailout money, or as they’ve labeled it out of crop support)
- $4billion is being requested to clear the arrears owed to GPL by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance budgeted $2Billion for electricity charges in 2021 which is a 3291% increase from what was budgeted for in 2019. Now they have returned requesting $4billion dollars. Has the Ministry taken over all Government arrears to GPL? Will they come again for more.
Article 220 (1) of our Constitution states that “ Parliament may make provision for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund and for authorising the Minister responsible for finance to make advances from that Fund if he or she is satisfied that there is an urgent need for expenditure for which no other provision exists.”
Further the Financial Management and Accountability Act section 41 states clearly that the Minister must be satisfied that all matters that are dealt with under this section are urgent, unavoidable and unforeseen, therefore justifying the need for the expenditure)
The question that is therefore left unanswered when one looks at financial paper No.3/2021 is can any reasonable Minister responsible for finance honestly say that all of the monies taken from the contingency fund during this period fit the criteria set out by our constitution and the FMAA. We certainly have quite a few questions about the sum of the funds that were taken out of the consolidated fund during this period.
What this pattern has revealed to us and should be revealing to all Guyanese is that the PPP are e
resources. Whichever of the two it turns out to be, this is
poor at budgeting, planning and economic management or
they simply have a cavalier approach to the national
not a good sign for us as a people who need persons who
are good stewards of our economy and of our revenues.
Compare this approach by the PPP to the APNU+AFC in Government –
In 2016 – the Auditor General report criticized us for management of the contingency fund.
In 2017 – There was zero use of the contingency fund. In 2018 – Zero use of contingency fund. In 2019 – Because of our inability to pass budget there was limited use of the fund.
This is good budget planning.
So when Gail Texeira has the audacity to state that all we do is accuse them of poor management and incompetence but we can’t show it, just tell her to look at the parliamentary records, it screams poor economic management and excesses, it tells the story of abuse of the Contingency Fund without adequate justification.”