Budget presentation delayed
There are only few examples when budgets have been delayed. The last time it happened was in 2008 when the U.D.P. assumed office after ten years of P.U.P. rule. After the recent March seventh elections, the PM announced that the 2012 budget would be late even though budget preparations normally begin in October to be presented, debated and passed in time for the new financial year that begins on April first. One theory is that the PM is hoping for a successful re-negotiation of the super bond. There are only three days left for the end of this fiscal year and the budget presentation will not be made until mid-July. So how will the affairs of the country be managed without a financial plan? According to the Ministry of Finance, monthly expenditures will be drawn from consolidated funds for the first quarter of the fiscal year under provisions made within the Finance and Audit Act. The increase in ministerial portfolios will also be taken into consideration at the time of the budget approval. Budget Director in the Ministry of Finance, Artemio Osorio, says that while there will be a natural increase in annual expenditure, no new taxes are expected.
Artemio Osorio, Budget Director, Ministry of Finance
“On account of the elections that happened in March 2012 the budget has had to be delayed until about four months. The provisions are made in the Finance and Audit Act for the minister to issue a warrant that would permit the government to continue spending from the consolidated funds for the four months, April to July. In July we expect that the budget will be presented and debated in the House [of Representatives] for it to come into effect in August 2012. We have the Finance and Audit Act. Section Four of the [Finance] and Audit Act specifically states that when the time that the financial year begins and there has not been an appropriation bill the Minister of Finance by warrant may issue, you know, the authority for expenditure to go on. So what happens is [that] we are allocating enough funds for the four months. We’re taking it on a monthly basis of what was approved in the last fiscal year. So we’re taking four months of what we spent last year so that should be able to cover the expenditure for the four months. And this would be considered an advance of what would be formally approved when the budget is finally approved.”