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National budget one-twelfth formula to be activated if no general elections before Dec 31

The Guyana government would have to resort to using one-twelfth of this year’s national budget and would be unable to finance new projects if general elections are not called before yearend, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said.

He said this year’s budget expires on December 31.

“Come January, people will be paid their salaries and so on but you will not be able to do a lot because it is just routine things with the one-twelfth,” Jordan told a news briefing

Insiders said the David Granger-led administration is considering calling elections around mid-December.

The Guyanese leader is expected to give a clear idea following Wednesday’s High Court ruling on whether house-to-house registration should be halted to facilitate general elections at the earliest possible date in line with last December’s passage of the no-confidence motion and subsequent validation in June by the Caribbean Court of Justice. He is expected to await the advice of the Guyana Elections Commission which meets on Thursday.

Asked whether he forecast having to resort to using the one-twelfth, he brushed off the question. “How would I know? I’m not the one responsible for calling the elections. I’m merely the one implementing the government’s financial plan”.

The Finance Minister said the one-twelfth formula would apply to current expenditures, but there could be no new capital projects. He said only rolled over capital projects would be financed by the Treasury.

In his introductory remarks to presenting the 2019 Mid-Year Economic Report, Jordan said he was doing so because he was unsure when Parliament would meet again for the document to be tabled and also distributed to the media. “Given the interim status of the government, we are not meeting in Parliament. That’s what I’m saying. The only time, perhaps, we can meet is if the two parties agree to go there for whatever for purpose but otherwise to that, we are not meeting. That’s why I’m saying I am not sure when Parliament will be meeting again,” he said.

Parliament comes out of its two-month recess on October 10, unless dissolved earlier.