In addition to this, we are concerned that the Ministry of Finance is in violation of the Constitution in many areas of fiscal management and we point out the following:-
- Non observance of debt restrictions and requirements in disclosure to the Parliament; we are in fact in violation of the maximum overdraft that the Government can hold at the Reserve Bank. This should have been reported to the House and the condonation of the House should have been sought.
- The question of providing resources for the implementation of the devolution exercise provided for in the Constitution Section 264 has not been made.
- Provision of 5% of gross revenue for local authorities, Section under 301 has not been met. This is the fourth year in which this violation has occurred. In addition to that, the Minister has an obligation under the Constitution to introduce a Bill to the National Assembly seeking condonation of unauthorised expenditure without delay and in any event, no later than 60 days after the extent of the unauthorised expenditure has been established and that is under Section 307.
- Furthermore, he has failed to introduce supplementary Appropriation Bill in the House providing for the issuance of the necessary funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and to close the gap caused by insufficient Appropriation Funds, Section 305 of the Constitution and Section 19 of the Public Finance Management Act.
- Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, we are concerned that we are in violation of the principle in the Constitution, that all revenues of the State should be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and only where a specific Act of Parliament requires or permits them to be paid into some other funds established for a specific purpose, that is Section 302 (b) of the Constitution. We feel that these violations of the Constitution require his urgent attention. Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not think that the House should condone these kinds of poor performance against established legislation, especially the Constitution.
Our recommendations Mr. Speaker Sir; I have mentioned the fact that we believe that the budget deficit in the Blue Book reflects a projected budget deficit of $1.9 billion as against $700 million and that is based on total expenditure approaching $7 billion and revenues of $5.1 billion. The revenue figures Mr. Speaker Sir, we feel are in fact quite realistic. He is forecasting total revenues from tax of $4.3 billion and the other revenues bring it up to $5.1billion target. The Estimates of Expenditure at $7billion, I think he is going to have difficulty holding it at that level.
Therefore, we once again face a situation where the projected budget deficit in the country is going to be over 10% of the GDP and this is simply unsustainable. We have to look at some way in which we can raise additional revenue. I personally have discussed the possibility of putting a small tax on electronic transactions and I have personally raised this with the Hon. Minister and not had any response. However, I consulted the Bankers’ Association and tax experts and I believe this is feasible.
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