The Alliance For Change today said that the government will be to blame if the 2014 budget isn’t passed and it appealed for dialogue on the estimates before their examination begins.
The AFC press release follows:
The Alliance For Change has appealed to the government, even at this 25th hour, to come to the negotiating table on the 2014 National Budget before the detailed examination of the estimates in the Committee of Supply begins.
The Government, though fully aware that the AFC would not give its support for a few of their pet projects and ‘rag-tag’ ventures that serve only to enrich the PPP and its cronies have sought to lump the allocations for these projects with projects that the AFC would be inclined to support. One example of this is the allocations for NCN and GINA being lumped with allocations for security at the Office of the President. This sort of budgeting is deceitful; it is trickery and an attempt by the government to foster bad spending by hiding it under layers of good spending. The government will not be allowed to get away with such underhand budgeting practices.
When the examination of the estimates starts in the Committee of Supply on Wednesday, the AFC will be asking serious questions and will be expecting serious and detailed answers. At this stage the Party would make strong recommendations for the Finance Minister to amend his estimates or face the likelihood of not having the estimates approved.
At the end of the day, it is up to the Minister of Finance to bring to the National Assembly, a Budget that the House can approve. At this late stage he must stand guided by what transpires in the Committee of Supply. The ball is in the Minister’s court.
The Alliance For Change wants to make it clear that we have no desire to deprive any person of their job or their wages or any community of real development. Neither is it our desire to ‘shut down’ this Government. However, it is the duty of a responsible government to separate bona fide, legitimate and reasonable spending from the areas of ‘slush and sleaze’. Should the Government attempt to force on the opposition a budget riddled with ‘pet projects’ it would be to their detriment and they would have to answer to the people.
While the AFC fully supports the vast majority of the allocations in the 2014 Budget the Party would be hard pressed to support a few allocations and it is in this context that the Party has made a last-minute appeal for dialogue.