Gov’t to meet opposition on budget concerns
-to ensure passage
Government has agreed to meet with the parliamentary opposition to iron out all concerns about this year’s $192.8 billion national budget and ensure that it is passed by the National Assembly.
Moments after the National Assembly reconvened today for the continuing budget debate, Speaker Raphael Trotman said that APNU MP Volda Lawrence had earlier indicated that she wished to put an oral question to Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh without notice.
After Trotman gave his permission, Lawrence asked Singh whether he would consider meeting with representatives of APNU and the AFC to address “our concerns regarding the 2012 estimates to provide for a smooth passage in this honourable house.”
Singh, in response, agreed to the request. He told the House that the PPP/C is “always willing to meet with and to receive from stakeholders views expressed on matters of interest and national importance.” He said that when at the last meeting of the economic sub-committee, established under the inter-parliamentary party dialogue forum, he had indicated that government was willing to consider any written submissions received on the budget. However, he noted, nothing submitted.
Nevertheless, he said, pointing out his party’s willingness to at all times engage the opposition, “we wish to indicate that we would be willing to meet with appointed representatives of the APNU and the AFC provided that the concerns allude to by [Lawrence] in her question are documented in advance to aid productive discussions and provided that the schedule agreed to unanimously by the business sub-committee of the committee of supply only yesterday is still adhered to in its entirety.”