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Jagdeo wants more time to debate budgets of constitutional agencies, slams Gov’t for slashing budgets

In accordance with a law passed by the APNU+AFC to allow constitutional agencies to have financial autonomy, the budgets of these entities will be debated separately from the 2018 National Budget.
The debate is scheduled to take place on November 17, however the Parliamentary Opposition is concerned about the limited time available to extensively scrutinize how the allocated monies will be spent. According to Opposition Leader, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, during a press conference on Tuesday, said he does not understand why the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan does not want a full debate on the spending of these constitutional agencies.

“Somehow in the head of the Minister, he believes that this part of the budget should not be debated fully and that MPs must confine themselves within narrow timeframes,” he stated, indicating that an entire agency may have an inadequate 30 minutes to be debated.

Jagdeo is also concerned over why the Minister is slashing almost all of the budgets when his Government had passed a law to give them financial independence.

In the case of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the budget has been descending over the years since the APNU+AFC assumed office. Jagdeo said during the upcoming debates, the opposition parliamentarians intend to rigorously question the reasons why the Minister keeps slashing the budgets of these agencies – ultimately hindering the work they are mandated to conduct. According to Jagdeo, the intention of granting financial autonomy to constitutional agencies is to remove central government’s dictation of what the entities budget should be. Otherwise, he argued that the process remains the same as prior to the passage of the amendments.

“What we will be challenging is what the Minister of finance gives as reasons for not approving the request as proposed by the agencies,” he stated.

Jagdeo further questioned why is it the Government decreased the proposed budgets of the constitutional agencies but finds it important to spend approximately $100M for vehicles for the Ministry of the Presidency.

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