THE Opposition United National Congress (UNC) has started nationwide pre-budget consultations. The first of these happened last Tuesday in Penal and was addressed by Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.
In a statement yesterday, UNC public relations officer Anita Haynes said, ““The consultations are intense discussions where residents can bring their concerns and their ideas and can become part of the Party’s and the nation’s policy making.”
Penal/Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said these consultations are to be concluded by September 24. Last week, Moonilal indicated the information gathered from these consultations would be used to guide the UNC’s strategies in the upcoming budget debate.
The current parliamentary session is expected to prorogue soon. Finance Minister Colm Imbert is expected to present the 2018/2019 Budget in Parliament, early in the new session. There is speculation that October 8 is being considered as budget day.
Haynes said the strategy behind the consultations is inkeeping with the party always taking “taken a community approach to governance.”
She also said UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has also initiated pre-budget consultations with business groups, NGOs, and religious and faith-based organisations.
Persad-Bissessar, who is also Opposition Leader, will give her reply to the Budget about four days after Imbert presents it. The Budget must be passed in the House of Representatives and Senate before October 31.
Apart from budget debates in the House and Senate, which could each last one week, the Budget must also be approved by the House’s Standing Finance Committee. The House’s Standing Orders give the committee a maximum of five days to complete its deliberations on the budget.