Why won’t the Minister of Finance give a straight answer to a simple question?
The leader of the AFC Mr Khemraj Ramjattan is clearly on to something. Why this higgledy-piggledy position from the Ministry of Finance? I speak of the call by the AFC Leader for an explanation on how the funds allocated for increases in workers’ wages over the last 5 years were utilized. Dr Ashni Kumar Singh is not a Clement Rohee; he is one of the more brilliant minds in Guyana. So how did this gentleman end up in this cul-de-sac?
Why this determined effort from the Ministry of Finance at subterfuge? Why make wild allegations on every issue that is irrelevant to the debate rather than respond to the legitimate issue raised – a claim from the Leader of the AFC that some $8 billion approved by Parliament over the last 5 years for wage increases has been mismanaged?
Why is it so challenging for the Ministry of Finance to respond to this with evidence and facts? Should this not be a walk in the park for the ministry, since it is the custodian of the nation’s numbers?
What is deeply concerning for me as a finance professional is the Minister’s dogged attempt to complicate the matter by importing irrelevant issues into the debate as a decoy to avoid answering a very simple query. What is he trying to hide? The Minister would want us to believe that the budget category defined as “Revision of Wages and Salaries” included the “cost of new recruits.”
How much more ridiculous can he get? The Boston University clearly explains that revision of salary means provision for salary increase. Plus the Oxford Dictionary explains the term ‘revision’ as meaning to change or modify.
Every ministry has an established strength and thus there should always be resources provided for the established strength in the “Wages and Salaries” category of the Budget, not in the “Revision of Wages and Salaries” category, so this statement from the Minister of provision of funds for new recruits is just a red herring.
This political exchange between a man who is known across Guyana for his politics of principle (Mr Ramjattan) and one who is now seen as a compliant member of the PPP, demands further action in the National Assembly. I humbly call on Mr Ramjattan to bring this matter to the Economics Services Committee with haste. If there is anything this 10th Parliament must achieve, it is financial integrity from the executive. The time for subterfuge, deceit and smokescreens died with the 9th Parliament.