With debate on the 2014 budget speech set to begin today, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh yesterday called for serious and civil exchanges.
“I appeal to my colleagues in the National Assembly for serious and civil debates of Budget 2014.
This should not be treated as a stage for political grandstanding. This third budget of the 10th Parliament, like previous budgets, is another opportunity for our elected officials and leaders to demonstrate to their constituents and all people of Guyana that they can, and will, work in the interest of the nation”, the minister declared in a statement.
He said that since the presentation of the $220B budget a week ago, civil society groups have added their voice, shared their concerns and “expressed overwhelming support for the measures in Budget 2014.”
He contended that these are the voices that the members of the august Assembly are ultimately representing.
“Let us act prudently, responsibly and intelligently in the interest of these persons who we are elected to represent.
Let us ensure that the single mother who commits diligently to sending her children to school receives government support via the National School Feeding and Uniform Programs; the cottage farmer who depends on electricity to grow his business is provided with affordable and accessible electricity; the health care providers in our hinterland communities who depend on accessible roads and bridges to deliver vital medications, that our future generation of children have a clean, health(y) environment because of initiatives like the Low Carbon Develop-ment Strategy”, he argued.
He added that the debate is another opportunity for the National Assembly to demonstrate that despite political differences all sides can work together in the interest of moving the country forward.
“Each and every Guyanese has a role to play in developing this nation, members of the National Assembly no less. Let us demonstrate from this high office of the National Assembly, that we will not play political football with another year’s budget. Let us demonstrate that we can work together from the hallow(ed) chambers of the National Assembly to build A Better Guyana for all Guyanese”, he added.
The opposition has reiterated on several occasions that they do not agree with the budget and that cuts will be made to allocations.