APNU left empty Consolidated Fund
– National Assembly hears
– billions of dollars in accumulated overdrafts
The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration left an empty Consolidated Fund when it demitted office on August 2, this year.
Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance within the Office of the President, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh, today, told the 14th Sitting of the National Assembly that the country’s revenue fund also had an overdraft of some $78.7 billion.
Dr. Singh was responding to a question posed by Opposition Member of Parliament, Hon Annette Ferguson, about the sum of money the Coalition Government left in the Consolidated Fund when it left office. APNU+AFC left office after a five-month-long battle over the results of country’s General and Regional Elections, which saw a victory for the PPP/C.
Dr. Singh said the $78.7 billion overdraft did not reflect the numerous cheques that were issued and which had not yet been cleared and “therefore would not have been reflected in the bank balance.”
He added that “If the overall picture of Government bank accounts at the Central Bank were to be taken, the Government’s net overdraft on that date would have been a staggering sum of $93 billion. And here again, that overdraft amount would not reflect the aggregate of cheques that would have been issued on all of those bank accounts whose clearance were still pending.
The Finance Minister said the net overdraft of $93 billion could be contrasted with the PPP/C Government’s net position when it demitted office in April 2015. He said the then Government had a net deposit of some $16 billion in the Central Bank.
“I might add that the question of the accumulation of this overdraft with Central Bank was identified and flagged as an issue by a number of commentators, including the international agencies. The International Monetary Fund, also in its annual reports of the Guyanese economy, had identified the accumulation of overdraft by the Government as a matter of grave concern.”
Beyond the accumulated overdraft, the PPP/C also assumed a number of other significant sources of indebtedness by Government to a range of agencies and entities.
Dr. Singh noted the $12 billion arrears to the Guyana Power and Light, which he said, contributed to the company’s grave financial state. He also listed the $30 billion NICIL/GuySuCo bond, of which $17 billion was drawn down.
There are still instances where debts have plunged the economy into a deeper state of financial distress. The National Assembly is being hosted at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.