Budget 2018 preparations begin
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, July 24, 2017
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan reminded heads of budget agencies that in preparing Budget 2018 they must be cognizant of the government’s vision.
The Minister made the charge at the Budget 2018 preparation and sensitisation session at the Marriot Hotel, Kingston today.
According to the Minister, achieving a good life for all Guyanese is not a slogan, mantra or an abstract concept. The term, the Minister said, is the government’s fixation and constant reminder that they were elected to improve the quality of life for all Guyanese.
This, Minster Jordan noted, will be carried out by bringing improvements to the quantity and quality of goods and services that is delivered to the people. The Minister added that the National Budget is the main vehicle through which this improved services and goods delivery can be achieved.
The Minister told the agency heads that request for allocations must directly and significantly contribute to the achievement of this vision. The Finance Minister also stated that the preparation of the 2018 National Budget is a “time for serious reflection on past performance.”
“A time to determine what works and what does not, what is contributing to the expected outcomes of the programme and what is not. What programmes need to be strapped all together what needs to be reengineered, what needs to be expanded and what needs to be improved,” Minister Jordan added.
The Minister pointed out that six months into the year and less than half of the monies allocated in the 2017 National Budget have been expended. Budget 2017 was passed last December. Ineffective management, poor monitoring and supervision are the cause the Minister stated for this.
He observed that these three challenges, if not addressed, will continue to compromise and devalue the vision of the budget and “robs the people of Guyana of better services, infrastructure and quality of life”.
“We need to be in a better position and in a better place. For where we are currently can neither be countenance nor
endured. I trust therefore that as a collective we will use the opportunity of reflection to renew our energies towards an improved performance and better results across all sectors,” Minister Jordan emphasized.
Meanwhile, Minister Jordan pointed out that monies allocated in the 2018 budget will not be substantially higher than the 2017 budget. The cause for this, the Minister said, is due to the call for the removal of taxes and the dwindling of concessional resources.
The Minister noted that this will be compensated by exhorting greater efforts in widening the tax net through better efficiency in the administration and collection of taxes.
Additionally, the Minister stated that “expenditure pressure continues to mount. For example, in 2018, we have to find new monies to finance local government elections and rebuild the country’s prison system even as we continue to support GuySuCo which continues to consume billions of dollars”.
The Minister noted that the burden is on agency heads to understand the reality being faced by the government and develop a realistic and achievable budget. The 2018 National Budget is slated to be read in November.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite