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Country Report Guyana Product Image

Country Report Guyana

  • ID: 2138721
  • February 2015
  • Region: Guyana
  • 28 Pages
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

The acting Chief Justice, Ian Chang, ruled that government expenditure of G$4.5bn (US$217m) made in 2014 without parliamentary approval was illegal under the constitution.

During consideration of the 2014 budget, the National Assembly disapproved nearly G$40bn of proposed government spending. In spite of this, by June 2014 the administration had spent G$4.5bn of the unapproved amount (this figure is likely to have been considerably higher by the end of 2014). This resulted in widespread consternation and condemnation by the opposition parties, and was principally responsible for triggering a no-confidence motion against the government. However, the president, Donald Ramotar, prorogued the parliament before the motion could be debated and set May 11th as the date for the next general elections.

The leader of the opposition, David Granger, filed legal action in December 2014 in which he asked the court to find the spending to be unconstitutional and to stop Ashni Singh, the minister of finance, from spending further funds on programmes disapproved by the National Assembly. Mr Chang agreed that the spending was in violation of the constitution. Importantly, he clarified that a constitutional provision pertaining to the laying in the National Assembly of a statement of excess-where expenditure exceeds the budget or no provision exists for the spending in question-is related to inadvertent expenditure, not, as in this case, advertent expenditure. However, he refused to grant an order to prohibit Mr Singh from spending further, as 2014-the budget year in question-had already ended. He noted that expenditure in 2015 will be subject to new spending rules in accordance with the constitution and the 2003 Financial Management and Accountability Act.

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Country Report Guyana

Government spending ruled illegal under constitution
Event
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