THE OPPOSITION Leader Jeremiah Manele says the description by the government that the 2017 Budget is sustainable and credible is questionable.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Manele said the $4.1billion budget’s credibility and sustainability depends on various economic variables that often are not realistic.
“A balance budget does not necessarily mean that it is credible and sustainable especially when we also use portions of our cash reserves to fund it,” the Opposition Leader said.
“Its credibility and sustainability could also be undermined later after it is passed by Parliament when ministries excessively use virements, contingency warrants and supplementary appropriation bids.”
Mr Manele said this was what happened to previous budgets and no doubt will happen again next year with the 2017 budget.
He said while these mechanisms or instruments are legal, their excessive use undermines the integrity and credibility of the Appropriation Act or budget for that year.
“The government’s primary objective continues to be on achieving broad based economic development.
“It recognizes the value and potential of our nation’s population and their resolve to determine the course and outcomes of their own destiny and participate more actively and meaningfully in the development of our nation,” he said.
Mr Manele said he supported these noble intentions and goals.
However, he said the problem and challenges have been the strategies and political will to achieve them.
“There is a lack of political leadership and direction by the government ministers to work towards achieving these noble goals and objectives.
“The last two years until now has been and still is business as usual,” he said.
As such, Mr Manele said they need strong political will and leadership on the part of all government ministers, as well as, a committed and well-resourced public service to achieve the objectives of the 2017 Budget.
“We need champions in Cabinet to pursue the government’s reform agenda and development endeavours.
“The non-attendance of Cabinet meetings and ministerial duties will not help,” he said.
Mr Manele said it is no secret that some ministers hardly turned up in their officers or ministries to provide the necessary direction in the execution and implementation of government policies and programmes.
By EDDIE OSIFELO