National Assembly approves 2024 budgets for constitutional bodies

The 2024 budgets for all constitutional agencies were approved in the National Assembly after an examination of the Estimates of Expenditure on Tuesday.

The Parliament Office has been allocated a total of $2.2 billion of which $50.5 million will be used for the procurement of furniture and equipment, as well as upgrading several facilities.

Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira during the consideration of the budget estimates

The Office of the Leader of the Opposition, which falls under this body, has been granted an allocation of $32.5 million. In 2023, the opposition leader’s office was allocated the sum of $28 million.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira clarified that the opposition leader’s office received an increased budgetary allocation this year, primarily to accommodate the 6.5 per cent public sector salary increase approved by the government last year.

She was at the time responding to questions from Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul regarding the increases. 

Furthermore, the Audit Office of Guyana has been granted a total allocation of $1.3 billion, while the Public and Police Service Commissions have been allotted $202.1 million. The Teaching Service Commission (TSC) will operate with a budget of $184.5 million, and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been allocated $3.5 billion.

Minister Teixeira clarified that the decrease in the allocation for GECOM from $5.067 million in 2023 to $3.5 million this year, was due to the Local Government Elections (LGE) held last year. 

“They feel they do not need that volume of money in 2024 as there are no elections,” she stated.

According to Minister Teixeira, the agency had proposed a pension scheme for its staff last year for $314 million.

“GECOM itself has not agreed to proceed on that issue at this time and therefore it was removed from the budget,” she added.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Volda Lawrence also questioned the increase in salaries.

However, the minister said this is due to the 6.5 per cent salary increase.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Judicature received $4.7 billion; the Office of the Ombudsman, $67.3 million; the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, $68.7 million; the Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), $238 million; the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), $17.5 million; the Rights Commissions of Guyana, $185.4 million and the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), $270.9 million.