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Govt ready for budget talks; supplied all requested documents to opposition- Ramotar

Parliament Building- the seat of the 65-member National Assembly

President Donald Ramotar on Friday assured that relevant documents about the 2014 National Budget have been circulated to opposition political parties and that his government was willing to hold talks on this year’s package.

Reacting to reports that the opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would not be participating in pre-budget talks because government has not provided information, the President insisted that it was circulated.

“The documents were sent and not only was it sent to Mr. Greenidge but to other members in the opposition- both parties in the opposition- so you can verify that but I have been told by the Finance Minister that he had sent all the documents that they had requested of him,” he said.

APNU’s Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge could not be immediately contacted as calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

Ramotar reiterated that his administration was ready and willing to meet with the opposition on the package of revenue and expenditures for this year. “Our doors are open for discussion. We still think that we have a lot of time for consultations,” he said.

The President said he regretted the opposition’s posture of willing to talk but refusing to do so.

Both sides have previously expressed the hope that pre-budget talks could possibly avoid the opposition-controlled National Assembly cutting expenditures to several huge infrastructural projects.

Citing the absence of sufficient information to justify some expenditures, the opposition has slashed the budget or barred the process for projects such as the construction of a new Cheddi Jagan International Airport, a Specialty Hospital and the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.