APNU Not supporting “Cardboard Budget”

APNU Not supporting “Cardboard Budget”

The Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday night gave the clearest indication yet that the opposition was not prepared to support the budget estimates as presented by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh.

Wrapping up the Opposition’s contributions to the 2013 Budget debates, Opposition Leader David Granger told the National Assembly that the nation has been presented with “a cardboard budget which has been painted to look like concrete” and it is a budget that the Members of the National Assembly should not support.

The Government needs the support of the Opposition for the budget to be passed. The combined opposition parties hold the majority in Guyana’s Parliament.

The Leader  of the Opposition used half of the speaking time allotted to him to roast the Government for not doing enough to address the real concerns and needs of all of the Guyanese people. He said the Finance Minister presented an “exclusionary budget” that did not cater for every Guyanese but rather it was a budget “of the PPP, by the PPP, for the PPP”.

Granger contended that citizens wanted a budget that would have gone to the heart of the everyday issues that confront them. He said what they got instead was a $208 Billion budget that has no “guiding philosophy” and inspires no one while lacking imagination and innovation.

In the 2013 budget, the Education sector has been budgeted a large chunk of the estimates. The Opposition Leader pointed to the state of the education sector saying that schools were in disrepair across the country and the drop out rate by students is high. He lambasted the Government for not consulting meaningfully on the budget and reminded the Government members that they were in the minority.

“The budget is worse than a mistake, it is a blunder” Granger said, while adding that “a minority administration must not presume that it could ignore the public will forever”.

The Government has been talking about its efforts at job creation but the Opposition Leader believes there needs to be action. He told the National Assembly that the authors of the budget ignored realistic measures that would encourage job creation.

With  members on the Government side paying close attention to his presentation, Granger said the Opposition is still willing even at this time to sit down and work out a real budget that would benefit all of the people and not a few. He said the “cardboard budget” must be amended if the people of Guyana are to see real changes in their lives.

The National Assembly will now go into the Committee of Supplies to consider the budget estimates, make amendments and it appears likely that the Opposition will make some cuts.

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