Budget 2021 will be delivered in the National Assembly on Friday – a feat that would make this the second budget the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government has been able to deliver in just five months.
This was announced by Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh on Monday. While announcing the news, the Minister recalled the multiple consultations that the Government has held with stakeholders.
“As many of you know, we have been engaged in wide-ranging consultations. Most recently last weekend, when we met with representatives of the Private Sector and organised labour to discuss issues of shared interest. We received a lot of very good suggestions from those who were gathered. Many on issues that would impact on 2021, others on policy issues or even beyond.”
“You would be aware that His Excellency also convened about two weeks ago, an engagement with a number of political parties and stakeholders. There again, we received a lot of very valuable suggestions, ideas, issues put on the table for consideration,” the Minister said.
Minister Singh noted that in light of the progress the Government has made in budget preparation, it was decided that the budget will be presented on Friday, February 12. He also explained that between now and Friday, there will be an intense period where the budget is finalised. He also laid out what people can expect from the budget.
“Expect that Budget 2021 will continue to deliver on the wide range of promises and commitments and undertakings included in the manifesto. We consider our manifesto to be our contract with our people of Guyana. It was on the basis of our manifesto that we were elected into office. And we intend to deliver.”
“Budget 2020 already started, notwithstanding it was an emergency budget, to deliver on some of these promises. It contained a number of emergency measures aimed at bringing immediate relief to the people of Guyana, particularly in the context of COVID-19,” Singh also said.
He noted that Budget 2021 will therefore continue in the same vein, rolling out initiatives that were started in Budget 2020, while advancing other initiatives that the Government committed to in their 2020 General and Regional Elections manifesto. The budget will also outline the PPP Government’s plans for the medium term.
This year’s budget will be the first full-year national economic plan presented by the PPP/C Government since taking office in August 2020. The previous budget, which it presented in September 2020, was an emergency one that nevertheless contained sweeping measures rolling back the heavy taxation measures inherited from the former Government.
Budget 2021 comes at a time when it is expected that the commencement of the construction of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge will be among several projects that will take centre stage this year.
Major highways across the East and West Coasts and East Bank of Demerara will also be commissioned. Preparatory work is also set to start for the construction of the highway to Brazil and the Deep Water Harbour in Berbice.
It was only on Saturday that Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira met with Private Sector and labour representatives at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) to discuss issues of interest to those stakeholders.
The meeting saw participation from a wide range of umbrella and sectoral representative bodies, including several from the small business sector. At the engagement, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo emphasised the Government’s commitment to deliver its manifesto promises, several of which have already been initiated in Budget 2020. He also indicated that Budget 2021 and the budgets for subsequent years will continue to build on these manifesto promises.