Budget Day is now November 28
For the first time in decades, Guyana will have its Budget Day way before the new year begins. Originally scheduled for December 5th, that date has been brought forward by a week.
According to House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland the new date is now November 28. “This means the Minister of Finance will lay the Estimates of Revenues and Expenditure for the financial year 2017 before the National Assembly and he will make his Annual Financial Statement or Budget Speech.” According to the Speaker, in a recap of what the House is expected to do, at the conclusion of the budget presentation by the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, the House will be adjourned. “Following this, the Standing Orders provide for a maximum of five additional days of debate on the budget motion and any proposed amendments. Debate on the budget motion has precedence over all other Government Orders. No other government business may be considered during a sitting in which the House debates the budget motion, unless the proceedings on it are completed.” The assembly has seven days for consideration of the Estimates of Expenditure in the Committee of Supply, before it comes to the main floor for passage. In the past, budget presentation is not unknown to be presented about two or three months after the new year breaks. The coalition administration had vowed last year to present the budget earlier, as late passage has implications on spending and the award of state contracts.
The November 28th date would mean that probably for the first time, in decades, two budget speeches would be presented by the Government in one year. With a tough last few months, amidst low world prices for commodities, with the exception of gold, citizens will be paying close attention to the budget. Of importance will be the measures announced by Government to jumpstart an economy which has slowed down. With its neighbors facing deep financial and political problems, Guyana has steered clear of the pitfalls, but consumer spending has seen a major drop, with a number of businesses saying that commerce has slowed at least 20 percent.