2021 National Budget passed
The consideration of the 2021 budget estimates and its passage, which should have taken at least three days to complete, was done within hours on Thursday amid persistent disruptions to the House Committee of Supply by Members of Parliament of the APNU+AFC Coalition.
The budget was passed to the tune of $353.8 billion although it was initially read for $383.1B. The remaining $29.2 billion was excluded but is chargeable by law, as detailed and summarised in the schedule. A large part of that $29.2 billion will be used to service debts but does not need to be included in the Appropriation Bill.
The budget was passed with the allocations for several government agencies and ministries with no examination from the main opposition party, who instead had their members bang their desks to drown out the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir and several government Ministers.
The budget was also passed along with all the necessary legislation to give effect to the measures outlined in the fiscal plan.
Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh said that it was disappointing that the parliamentary opposition, with the exception of Deputy Speaker, Lenox Shuman, chose to absent themselves from what he said was the critical stage of the conclusion of the consideration of Budget 2021.
“It’s very unfortunate that the opposition chose to withdraw themselves from the latter part of the consideration of the estimates, thereby, denying the Guyanese people an opportunity to learn more at a detailed level of what is in the budget,” he said.
Coalition MPs intentionally disrupted the sitting of the National Assembly several times during the last two days by shouting down other speakers while banging their desks in defiance of rulings by the Speaker.
The disruptions, which started on Wednesday, continued on Thursday with Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill concluding that the opposition seemed bent on ensuring that there was no normalcy in the House, something he said could trigger destabilising action in the streets.
“This is their game plan, behave so badly that the Speaker cannot speak or he cannot control the House,” Eghill added.