Minister of Finance Winston Jordan today met with members of the opposition People’s Progressive Party and discussed the 2015 Budget.
The consultation has gone down as the first official face to face engagement between the new APNU+AFC government and the opposition, People’s Progressive Party which had been in government for just over 22 years.
The consultation took place at the Ministry of Finance and fulfilled a commitment by the coalition government to consult with the opposition on the preparations of annual national budgets.
According to the Finance Minister, the meeting which saw PPP’s General Secretary Clement Rohee and former ministers Juan Edghill, Pauline Sukhai and Robeson Benn participating, “represents an opportunity for cooperating with the Government”.
Speaking with the Government Information Agency, Jordan said, “At least there is some recognition there, that there is a government in power and one you can sit with at the same table and agree on a set of policies and programmes or even not agree.”
The Finance Minister further noted that the meeting provided an opportunity for the opposition to give their input. “Their policies and programmes could be ventilated and programmes which the Government could consider in the shaping of the budget,” he said.
According to Minister Jordan, “We all live in this 83,000 square miles and so we should have an opportunity to represent our views, and have those views and policies be reflected in the programmes and policies that the sitting government of the day makes and implement.”
Finance Minister Jordan reminded however that, “at the end of the day, the Executive is responsible for the budget”.
The Finance Minister and top ministry officials have, and will continue to have extensive consultations with various stakeholders with a view to completing and presenting the National 2015 Budget.
The Minister, who is a highly qualified financial expert, had said earlier that he inherited some preparations for the 2015 budget but, the focus has since changed to reflect the agenda of the new APNU+AFC Administration.