Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon John Maneniaru told Parliament today that the Democratic Coalition for Change Government has taken a necessary step to ensure that the 2017 Budget is reflective of its Policy objectives.
The Minister made the remarks when contributing to the debate on a Special Adjournment Motion moved by Prime Minister Sogavare this morning to further adjourn Parliament to Tuesday 22nd November 2016. This is to allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to scrutinise the 2017 Budget.
The further adjournment which was passed without objection from the Opposition and Independent groups was necessary following a delay in the submission of the budget to Parliament.
In his contribution to the Special Adjournment Motion today, the Chairman of PAC and Deputy Opposition Leader, Hon Rick Hou requested the Finance Minister Hon Snyder Rini to be definite as to when the 2017 Budget documents would be submitted to Parliament.
He said the ‘lateness’ in the submission of the budget has been a concern to him as the PAC may not have ample time to enquire into the bill as expected under the relevant Parliamentary Standing Orders and Public Financial Management Act 2013.
But responding to the remarks by Hon Hou, the Finance Minister Minister Hon Snyder Rini defended the delay as necessary to ensure that all Ministerial Budget Submissions are in line with the DCC Government Policy.
He said Cabinet has approved the final version of 2017 Budget last Friday and will be summited to Parliament this afternoon for scrutiny by the PAC and thereafter deliberation and approval by Parliament.
Speaking in support of Hon Rini’s remarks, the Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Maneniaru said the DCC Government is determined to ensure that 2017 Budget reaches down to the people, hence the delay.
Minister Maneniaru said one of the reasons why past ruling political governments failed to fulfil their Policy promises was that Government Budgets were basically put to them by Government officials and as such did not reflect their Policy intentions for the nation.
“The budgets that came to this house over the years were basically the same. All that relevant officials from the Ministries have been doing to the budgets was adding percentages to them every year and we must put a stop to this trend if we are to ensure that our Policy promises are fulfilled.”
He added that, “We had to take time to really scrutinise the Government Budget Process as it contains a lot of hiccups to the effective implementation of our Policy programmes. It is our desire to see that the 2017 Budget reaches down to the people that we represent here in this House.”