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Mar 7, 2019

Budget Reading Push Back; Espat Says it is Unacceptable

Julius Espat

The fiscal year ends on March thirty-first, which means government has to present a budget for the new financial year.  Espat also touched on the upcoming budget. According to Espat, the presentation of the General Revenue and Appropriation Bill 2019-2020 was originally scheduled for Friday, March eight, but the budget reading was pushed back to Friday, March fifteenth. The debate is scheduled to take place the following week, on the twenty-first and twenty-second. Espat says that this does not only shortens the time frame to prepare for the debate, but shows the government’s inability to present the budget in time. 

 

Julius Espat, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

“The essence or the nature of the budget is that you consult, you investigate, you analyze what you need to do and you prepare. So what’s happening right now is that budgets come and we debate it but it is meaningless because nothing in there makes any difference except paying the bills of the salaries of people. So they are putting fire as they come along and that is how they are operating this government. Tomorrow we should have been in parliament listening to the budget but they are not prepared. They have not been able to publish the documents. The information that was supposed to have been given today to us will not be given until next week. So instead of having that two week period, or three week period, in which we prepare to debate the budget which is supposedly the most sacred document to government as it pertains to how you spend the people’s money we will only have ten days now. How can we even consider, we can’t consider to properly analyze a budget in ten days. That is unacceptable. We are running a business, the largest business with absolutely no budget in place because it is useless if you have supplementary coming in all the time.  That just means that the people’s money is not spent in a transparent way, in an accountable way and in my opinion it leads to what we have right now which is four billion dollars in debt.”

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