By Kebba AF Touray
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has appealed in a communiqué sent to the assembly for the deferment of the submission of the draft budget estimate to the legislature for next year.
The ministry acknowledged receipt of the National Assembly Budget Session Calendar that was sent to it by the legislature and they recognized the need for the timely submission of the Draft Budget for consideration by the National Assembly in accordance with section 82(1) of the Standing Orders of the Legislature.
However, the ministry said considering the fact that they are required to submit the draft budget to both the Cabinet and the legislature by October 2021, it has become difficult to fulfill this requirement under a constraint budget calendar.
“Remember that the constitutional requirement to submit the draft estimates for consideration and approval is less than two months before the year end and has been the practice that most government institutions are familiar with,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, they recognized the fact that December 2021 is an election month and for that matter, all budget activities should be considered well before November 2021, to enable the Assembly to consider and pass the Appropriation Bill before the General Election.
The ministry also stated that given government institutions are not fully prepared to submit the accompanying budget document as stipulated in section 82(1) of the standing orders of the National Assembly.
“We write to appeal that the usual draft estimate and the accompanying appropriation bill 2022 be submitted for consideration in the upcoming (next year) budget session. We will endeavor to prepare the government Ministries and Agencies next year so that the requirements under section 82(1) of the standing orders shall be fulfilled and will form part of the 2022 Appropriation Bill document,” the ministry said.