Gov’t to present Supplementary Appropriation Bill to Parliament
WITH A NUMBER of costs surfacing in relation to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government will present a Supplementary Appropriation Bill to Parliament on Thursday.
“With all the new things on which we have to spend money and some stimulus which we have to put in, and some costings for the food plan, it is likely, almost inevitable that we have to go to Parliament,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told the media on Tuesday, March 17.
The food plan to which he referred is the Coronavirus Food Security and Impact Mitigation Plan being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, headed by Minister Saboto Caesar. Further, a number of stimulus measures (monetary or fiscal policy to stimulate the economy) are planned in order to combat the negative effects on the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister said before the Supplementary Appropriation Bill is brought to Parliament, certain legislative tasks must be completed.
He added that although the special warrant limit had previously been increased from 25 million to 35 million dollars, individual special warrants should not go over five million dollars.
A special warrant is “a method of obtaining an approved appropriation when the Legislative Assembly
is not or will not be in Session for some time in order to approve a Supplementary Appropriation Act.” “But we may have, in some cases, some going above that (the individual limit),” Gonsalves stated, adding, “And I don’t mind a debate in the Parliament, in fact I welcome it, and the measures which we are taking to steady the ship further, I love it…leh the people understand what’s happening. That’s how a Democracy works.”
Gonsalves also noted that a $7 million stimulus package of road repairs has been put together, which goes above the individual limit for the special warrants.
Therefore, he stated, “I believe overall it would be neater to put them in a Supplementary Estimate and a Supplementary Appropriation Bill rather than by the way of a special warrant.