The Private Sector Commission is pressing the combined Opposition parties in parliament to have an alternative plan if they intend to cut the 2013 budget estimates. The Commission’s position comes on the eve of the consideration of the National budget estimates in the National Assembly.
The Opposition Parties, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change together hold the majority in the Parliament and Government will have to secure their support for the budget to be passed. The Opposition parties have already threatened a number of cuts to some projects and agencies.
The Private Sector Commission appears worried by the Opposition threats and position and in a Sunday evening statement said “Parliament as a whole must act in concert to promote the best interest and longer term interest of the National economy”.
The Commission said it is deeply concerned by plans of the Opposition to reduce funding and in many cases, to totally eliminate funding “for important national development projects in the 2013 budget” . According to the release, the PSC is particularly concerned about threats to cut the budget for the Security Reform Strategy, the Amaila Falls project and the airport development project.
“We are extremely disappointed over the targeting of the airport development project to be totally eliminated from the budget . This airport project is vital to the safety of international air traffic into and out of our country as well as the continued modernization and expansion of the travel and tourism sector”, the PSC release noted.
Over the past few years, there has been a decline in major investment activities. The PSC believes that some of the positions in parliament over the past year may be responsible for that decline. The PSC statement added that “we have noted a slow down in Private sector activities that can be possibly attributed to the constant hardened positions in parliament”.
The Commission which represents several businesses and businessmen in Guyana noted in the release that with all of its concerns, it is heartened by efforts by both the Government and the Opposition to meet on issues of concern surrounding the budget. The Government and the two parliamentary Opposition parties are expected to meet on Monday morning, mere hours before the consideration of the estimates gets under way in the Assembly.