The Government of Guyana is moving to implement an emergency budget in three weeks, Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo said during a press conference this afternoon.
The introduction of this budget will be no easy task, Jagdeo said, noting that it usually takes the Finance Ministry almost 180 days to craft one. The former Finance Minister expressed optimism that this can be done in 21 days.
He explained that the urgency is needed to lend support to government ministries and state agencies in alleviating the burden placed on the populace due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that there is a need for the resuscitation of the economy, which he said is in dire straits. He noted the massive deficits being shouldered by many state agencies including the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated (GPL); the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI): the Guyana Gold Board; and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
The 21-day duration came into effect following the circular that was issued to the ministries and agencies sometime this week.
Some agencies have been given up to Monday, August 16 and Wednesday, 18, to make their submissions to the Finance Ministry.
The David Granger-led administration fell to a vote of no-confidence in December 2018. Consequently, its legal arm was severed, thus preventing it from releasing a budget for this year. It did, however, manage to secure a twelfth of the previous year’s allocation.
Despite this restriction, the previous government still accessed billions of dollars from the treasury for capital expenditure, Jagdeo said. This will be reflected as monies already spent, or as shortfall in the emergency budget.