Budget preparation is not a political process- AFC
The preparation of a national budget should not be hindered by political processes, according to Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Raphael Trotman.
Responding to questions from the media at the party’s head office on Thursday, Trotman said “the budget process is not a political process.”
“It is a process mandated by the financial management and accountability act and above that, the Constitution of Guyana.
“So whether we have an elections coming or not, the process must start,” Trotman declared.
The Ministry of Finance has commenced budge preparations and this week launched sensitisation and training sessions on the process.
This week, Finance Minister Winston Jordan disclosed that the Government is hoping to present its budget to the National Assembly in November, even as the Government may be forced to call elections before which is preceded by the dissolution of Parliament.
Trotman on Thursday said the Ministry and the Minister are carrying out a statutory obligation and “there is nothing improper about it despite what other pronouncements may be made by any court.”
He pointed out that the Constitution sets a date when the preparations must begin and be presented.
Therefore, he noted that whether the Government changes or remain following the upcoming General and Regional Elections, the work must go on.
“The date may be political in terms of the timing but the preparatory work has to take place both by way of common sense and because the law dictates it. So whether the Government is re-elected or another or not, the work has to go on,” he said.
“A country without a budget means no country, no decisions can be made and no spending can take place,” he added.
The AFC Chairman referred to the 2015 National Budget –the first presented by the Coalition Government –noting that the information used came from what the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration had compiled.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson who was also at the press conference further explained that in a ministry as big as his, it would be disastrous to begin a budget preparation process later that the date provided.
“I don’t know how [we] expect something to make it into Budget  if [we] don’t start the process now,” he said.
In a letter to the editor on June 26, former Junior Finance Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill argued that the Budget should define the vision, priorities and programmes of the newly elected Government.