Past performance results in reduced budget for constitutional agencies – Minister Jordan
DPI, GUYANA, Friday, November 17, 2017
Finance Minister Winston Jordan justified the reduction in the constitutional agencies 2018 Budget allocation on the grounds of their past inability to spend allocated sums.
Today, as the Committee of Supply considered the current and capital estimates of the 16 constitutional agencies for the year 2018 in the National Assembly, it became clear early in the considerations that the proposed sums for most of these agencies were going to be reduced.
Minister Jordan in justifying the reductions noted, “the realities of 2017 and in many respects, even 2016 suggested that the budgets that we were giving to most of the agencies, would not have been able to be implemented.”
By mid-year, the government had registered its disappointment in the low expenditure of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). Human resources, private sector capacity, and a lack of understanding procurement matters are among the issues that resulted in agencies underperforming in the PSIPs.
The government has since begun working with these agencies, the Finance Minister explained, to “iron out” these issues. Technical support is also being provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Minister Jordan noted fixing these inherited problems will take time, “So this particular budget, we emphasised the need for agencies to show us their ability to spend sums of money that would have been allocated to them.”
The decision to reduce the budgets of the agencies were also premised on their inability to submit their budget in line with the Finance Ministry’s specification. The government’s 2018 Budget allocations to the agencies are also in keeping with the projected economic outlook for the upcoming year”, the Minister said.
“Given our macro-economic outlook for 2018, given our projections for revenue, given our projections for borrowing and given the sustainability of all of those…In all cases, there was an abject failure to recognise these constraints and to submit budgets in line with the Budget Circular of July,” he explained.
When asked to go into details of the budget circular by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, Minister Jordan expounded, “It talks about procurement planning…especially under the PSIP…one of the problems that we realized, was that there was procurement planning that was taking place in almost all the agencies, if not all of them whether they are constitutional or otherwise.”
Collectively, the ministries were asking for in excess of $600 billion, almost three times the 2017 National Budget. “So, you can see our difficulties in trying to look at a 600 plus billion-dollar request when resources are not even at $300B”, Minister Jordan pointed out.
By: Tiffny Rhodius