BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 2ND 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says next week’s Tuesday Budget Session of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly is in compliance with legislation approved by the lawmaking body in 2007. The Budget Session is traditionally held in December, but has on occasions presented at other dates.
“The Finance Administration Act passed by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on the 28th June 2007, Assented to by His Excellency the Governor General on the 11th of July 2007 and which came into force on the 1st of November 2007, provides in paragraph 31 under the heading, Provisional General Warrants and Reservations for the Budget to be presented within four months of the start of the Financial Year,” Prime Minister Douglas told listeners to his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
Dr. Douglas, who is also Minister of Finance, quoted Section 31, which states: “If the Appropriation Act for a financial year has not come into operation at the commencement of the financial year, the Minister may by provisional general warrant under his or her hand authorise expenditures necessary to carry on the services of Government until the expiration of four months from the beginning of that financial year or the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act, whichever is the earlier…”
“I want to say to the citizens of this country that in January, I used this particular provision to ensure that the government is able to spend money and could be able to collect taxes up to the end of April of this year. That is why it is now necessary to go into Parliament to ensure that the Appropriation Act allows us to continue to spend money and to collect our taxes so that we would be able to meet our commitments for the rest of this fiscal year,” said Prime Minister Douglas, silencing the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the St. Kitts Christian Council and the St. Kitts Evangelical Association who have issued statements that the deadline for the presentation of the 2013 Budget in the National Assembly was 1st March 2013.
“My Government has always been resolute in our commitment to respect and uphold the Constitution, and that we continue to be, because it is by so doing that we are able to uphold and protect our nation,” said Dr. Douglas, who confidently stated that as Minister of Finance, he will present the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget of St. Kitts and Nevis almost one month earlier than the April 30, 2013 deadline specified in the legislation.
“In keeping with well-established and never-once challenged practice in St. Kitts and Nevis, I will present the Estimates at the same time as the Budget, as every PAM and Labour Government, without exception, always has. The Budget will be debated,” Dr. Douglas said.
He said the Budget has the support of the majority of legislators in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly and will be passed permitting the funding of Government programmes, the payment of Government bills and the meeting of myriad Government financial obligations to move forward, unabated.
“Most of all, this smooth and unbroken meeting of the Government’s responsibilities will keep intact St. Kitts and Nevis’ reputation as a well-managed, responsible, self-respecting and respectable member of the world community of democratic nations,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He urged listeners to the programme, syndicated on several radio stations to follow the meetings of the lawmaking body.
“I urge you to tune in, in order to follow more closely the work of the legislators you elected to advance the nation’s interests – or who were nominated by the Government or the Opposition to help assume these important responsibilities,” said Dr. Douglas.
“Many of you will have followed our Nation’s Budget Presentations from one year to the next, just as many of you may have participated in the annual Consultations on the Economy in years gone by, a process which facilitates the Government’s consulting with a vast array of analysts, practitioners, and decision-makers from all sectors, in order to seek their insights on the way forward, and to share with them our own thinking on the way forward as well,” said Prime Minister Douglas.