Fernandes wants more time to scrutinise Guyana’s first trillion-dollar budget
Juretha Fernandes, the Finance spokesperson representing the Alliance For Chance (AFC) opposition in the National Assembly, hopes that more time will be set aside for the consideration of the estimates of the 2024 National Budget.
According to Fernandes, Guyana’s first trillion-dollar budget demands much attention, in the interest of guaranteeing accountability.
“This is the first budget that is over a trillion dollars so we will be looking to have additional time to question those estimates…we believe at least two and a half hours are necessary when you are adding more money, and having more projects.
“…It’s the people’s money and we need to be accountable as government, opposition, altogether,” Fernandes told the News Room during an interview on Monday night at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
The $1.146 trillion budget was presented on Monday by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh in a five hours and 30 minutes marathon budget speech featuring intermittent digressions to respond to heckling and pauses to quench his thirst.
Now that the budget has been presented, Parliamentarians will next week get down to the budget debates and subsequently, engage in the consideration of the estimates.
During the consideration of estimates, Parliamentarians peruse budgetary line items and can question each allocation line by line. Usually, Opposition Parliamentarians are able to seek clarity on why the specific financial provisions are made and Government Parliamentarians defend those allocations.
Aside from seeking additional time during the consideration of the estimates, the Parliamentarian said there are key aspects of the budget that the opposition will be zeroing in on.
Those focus areas include Guyana’s debt management, pressing the government to consider increasing the minimum wage and the distribution mechanism for the vouchers and grants announced by Dr. Singh.