Budget 2021 informed by ‘rich, consultative process’

– Dr. Singh
– Ministries, agencies to begin implementation of new projects

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh says Budget 2021 was the product of a “rich, consultative process,” combining the efforts of stakeholders across the country.

The $383.1 billion national budget was given the nod in the National Assembly on Thursday, days ahead of schedule.

“As you know, other political parties were consulted, civil society organisations were consulted, the private sector, many other civil society organisations were either engaged in formal face-to-face consultations or made suggestions or written submissions to the Government of Guyana, all of which were taken into consideration,” Dr. Singh said.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh

The Finance Minister said that process contributed to the budget becoming a very strong and comprehensive policy document.

The second half of the budget process – the Consideration of the Estimates – also saw extensive work done by the technical staff of the various ministries.

“A lot of work is typically done by the Permanent Secretaries, the accounting officers in preparing their Ministers for that part of the process. I want to put on record my thanks to those people who worked hard to prepare their Ministers for that phase of the budget process.”

Dr. Singh said the Budget could be considered the most important item in the annual parliamentary calendar, and again registered his disappointment that the APNU/AFC chose to withdraw from and delay the process.

He said there are several important initiatives from Budget 2021 that promote investment in every sector.

“Investing in physical infrastructure, roads, bridges, airstrips, delivery of health, delivery of quality education services, increases in old age pension, increases in public assistance. There are tax measures that we announced,” he said.

Even as Guyana continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Singh said there are adequate provisions in the Budget to help the country navigate safely, while keeping the economy afloat.

Now that the Budget has been approved, Dr. Singh said the Government would ensure the timely implementation of all initiatives and projects proposed.

“We open a new chapter which is budget implementation and one can safely say that the work really now begins in ensuring that the objective of Budget 2021 be realised. That will be the message I would like to get out with the budget agencies.” This year’s budget was presented on February 12, under the theme ““A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism and Resilience.”