BY CAROL-ANNE SULEGA
THE Opposition says there has been abuse in some of the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act.
Leader of the Official Opposition Hon Jeremiah Manele made the statement on the floor of Parliament yesterday.
He made the statement in response to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Hon Snyder Rini’s second reading speech on Tuesday.
“Mr. Speaker, in his Second Reading Speech yesterday, the Minister as expected has outlined the legal basis and framework for the Supplementary Appropriation Bill before the House.
“These include section 102(3) of the Constitution and sections 51, 58, and 60 of the Public Financial Management Act.
“Sir, I have no difficulties with these provisions.
“My difficulty is that we have been abusing some of these provisions due to deficiencies in our planning and budgeting capacities, as well as our inability to work and live within our means.
“This is not a predictable world but a few of the expenditures that keep on appearing in our supplementary appropriation bills including the one before us, are not unforeseen but forseen ones, expenditure or commitments that we knew in advance hence should have budgeted for them in the original budget,” the Leader of the Official Opposition said.
He then added that they knew three years ago that RAMSI was going to leave us at the end of June 2017, well before the 2017 budget launch and formulation in 2016.
This was also outlined in various amendments and adjustments to the original 2017 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2017, that the Minister has outlined in his speech.
“I am sure these changes will be clearer when we go through the various heads and tables during the Committee of Supply.
“Mr. Speaker, the issue of shifting funds or reallocation of funds between budget heads to meet expenditure as raised by the PAC in its report, is a serious one,” Manele added.
He then further stated that this has the potential to undermine the credibility of the projects and programs in the development budget.
“If in deed these are savings then it could mean that the projects or programs in the development budget were either over costed or the Ministry concerned lacks the capacity to implement the project, hence cannot spend the funds,” Hon Jeremiah Manele said.