Tuesday, 27 November 2007 4:36 PM

Govt. Holdup on 2008 Budget "Delaying Tactic" : Huniehu

The Opposition spokesman on Finance and Treasury, Edward Huniehu, has described the Government's excuse to hold up the 2008 budget as a delaying tactic.

Mr. Huniehu made the statement following Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's explanation today that the budget has been delayed as the government is yet to compile it.

In his explanation, the Prime Minister said the budget will, therefore, not be ready for presentation to Parliament until early 2008.

But Mr. Huniehu said the excuse is not good enough.

"... the Government has had the draft 2008 budget estimates for over two months," he stated.

Mr. Huniehu accused Prime Minister Sogavare of using delaying tactic in order to cling to power while realizing he no longer has the majority of support in Parliament.

"... it is in the national interest that Parliament decides on the number game as soon as possible to ensure a new Government is given a fresh mandate to produce the 2008 national budget," he said.

Mr. Huniehu said that in the event the new government cannot produce the 2008 budget estimates in the December sitting of Parliament, a resolution will then have to be reached to allow the Minister of Finance and Treasury to expend money from the Consolidated Fund in the first three months of next year.