Budgets are built on manifesto commitments – Finance Minister

The budgets presented by the PPP/C Government continue to be guided by the commitments made in its 2020 manifesto, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh has stated.

Addressing the 2023 budget, set to be presented in the National Assembly Monday, Dr Singh said the budgets are designed to deliver on the manifesto commitments to Guyanese, as each programme and project is directly connected to the overall growth and transformation of the national economy.

“From the time we got into office, the 2020 emergency budget, the 2021 and 2022 annual, full year budgets, and now the imminent 2023 full year budget. All of these budgets are built upon the manifesto’s commitments. The budgets are designed to deliver on the commitments that we articulate in our manifesto,” he said Friday.

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

The minister noted that since assuming office, the government has forged close ties with Guyanese as it strongly upholds the inclusionary democracy principle.

He said one of the really distinguishing characteristics of the President Ali-led Government has always been its constant and ongoing close engagement at the grassroot level in various communities, especially since government is pushing its massive transformational development agenda.

The manifesto continues to constitute the contract with Guyanese across the country. 

“Having constituency meetings, community meetings, listening and hearing what the concerns are of these communities and feeding back that information into the policymaking processes and into the decision-making process. That is also an ongoing activity. And that is also an activity that informs what we do through the instrument of our annual budgets. So, the process is really an ongoing one and has been going on for a long time,” the minister pointed out.

The manifesto was in itself the subject of extensive consultations with stakeholders and Guyanese and forms the basis on which the PPP/C Government was elected, Minister Singh noted.

As Guyana is a part of the global economic system, Dr Singh underlined that monitoring what is happening on the global economic front is an important part of the budget process and it is an ongoing part of the budget process.

“We have to constantly, as economic policymakers and as a responsible government, keep an eye on what is happening in the global economy and how that will feed through multiple channels into the domestic economy. We have to update our own domestic economic projections, developments in the oil and gas sector, developments in the other extractive sector, gold, bauxite, and developments in the agricultural sector.”

This he said, translates into job creation, income generation, and ultimatelty government revenues.

The minister highlighted that government prides itself on the closeness of the engagement with stakeholders in the private sector, religious community, respective sectors and special interest groups.

Importantly, we want to hear from other stakeholders in society, what their perspectives are, how they see things evolving, what are their main concerns, issues, what their perspectives are on key issues that are confronting us etc. And we do that on an ongoing basis,” he related.

All of the PPP/C Government’s budgets have been in line with the promises made as well as extra projects that have advanced Guyana, changed the country’s landscape at a fast pace, and garnered attention on a global scale.

The $552.9 billion transformative budget, “Steadfast against all obstacles, Resolute in creating our One Guyana,” was presented in January 2022. Several initiatives were implemented to uplift the lives of Guyanese and aid in their economic development. The budget, which was the greatest fiscal plan to date, replaced the $383.1 billion national budget in 2021.