…election limbo restricts monthly expenditure — Finance Minister

The David Granger-led administration will have to, in the first half of 2020, curtail its spending to just 1/12 of the total expenditure by the administration this year, for each month of the coming year.
This, until a new budget is passed—not expected until sometime in June and debate and passage sometime after.
This would also mean that Guyana will, for the first half of the coming year, be unable to embark on any new expenditure that had not been catered for in previous allocations.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Wednesday detailed the parameters for government next year when he reminded that a budget would not be passed until the Parliament is resumed, and hinted at some time in June.
He said, in the interim, government would be restricted—under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA)—to 1/12 of the previous year’s total for its monthly demands in running government.
Jordan told reporters that prior to any Appropriation Act being in place, there is provision under the FMAA for the use of 1/12 of the previous year’s voted provision each month and that this would obtain for as long as a budget is not approved.
According to the country’s chief financial officer, it is not expected that a Budget will be passed until perhaps before July of next year.
He pointed to the fact that General and Regional Elections are to be held in early March next year, and that “there are things that have got to take place before parliament is reconvened”.
The Finance Minister noted that when Parliament is reconvened and the budget is brought to the House, there is a mandatory process that follows, which includes up to two weeks of debate and scrutiny of the proposed expenditure for the coming year.
According to the Minister, between the end of the 2018 fiscal year – at the end of December – and the passage and subsequent assent of an Appropriations Act, then the administration would be restricted in its spending.
The Minister disclosed that at present he would be unable to say what the monthly limit would be, since the 1/12 calculation is based on the total expenditure for the year and not just what was budgeted.
As such, the Ministry would have to await the tabulation of all of the figures of expenditure for the entire year before a monthly breakdown can be had.
It was explained, too, that different agencies have different priorities, and as such, this will have to be taken into account, bearing in mind that recurrent expenditure such as salaries will have to be continued to be paid.

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By Gary Eleazar


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