Posted: Monday, February 14, 2022. 10:11 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of State for Finance Christopher Coye has said that while his administration is doing its best to meet the requirements of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act in regard to supplementary budget allocations, it has had to take on responsibilities left behind by the previous administration and its tardy reporting.
“I believe that we can fulfill the obligations of the law and that is what we have been doing,” Coye told reporters last week. He added that the importance of the law relates to accountability but left it to the Attorney General’s Ministry for legal advice and guidance moving forward.
But he noted that ex-Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s order in February of 2020 was not perfected before his departure from the bench because of objections by the then-administration.
The 2020-2021 budget was approved in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as Coye noted, it was quickly rendered obsolete by the need for medicines, food, and so on.
A total of four supplementary allocations were passed in that financial year, and a further two when the John Briceno administration came into office (a third was just recently passed).
“Those had almost entirely to do with past administration payables; there’s a litany of payables that emerged, not immediately so, but emerged over the period of last year and so those had to be attended in both the fifth and sixth supplementary (of 2020-21) and as well in each of the three supplementaries for fiscal year 2021-22, in a reducing percentage, because the residual payables were smaller as we went through the remainder of the year,” Coye said.
Nonetheless, the total owed from the 2021-22 supplementaries for past payables was $68 million by Ministry calculations.
Coye assured that that money aside, the current supplementaries have to do with prospective spending.
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