THE Parliamentary Opposition Group still strongly holds the view that the Minister of Finance has breached section 52(1)(a) of the Public Finance Management Act –PFM.
Responding to a statement by the Ministry of Finance, Tuesday, the Opposition Group said whilst they acknowledged that the Ministry has confirmed tabling the mid-year review report on the 2016 budget; the Ministry has failed to admit that it was done outside of what the law required.
The Opposition statement said its office has been informed by Parliament that the report was just submitted on Monday 19th September, clearly 9 months after the budget has been executed.
“The Minister by virtue of section 52(1)(a) must table the review report on the 2016 budget not later than 31 July 2016. As such , the minister has failed to do that and instead submitted the 2016 midyear budget review report to Parliament for tabling only last week; 9 months after the budget has been executed,” it said.
Therefore, the Opposition Group said there is a failure on the requirement that the Minister is obligated by law to table the review report not later than seven months after the start of the financial year.
The statement added the action by the Minister is clearly in breach of the requirements that are clearly stated in the Act.
“It would be interesting to know whether the Speaker of Parliament would accept and tabled the report before Parliament even though the Minister has clearly breach the law. This is for the speaker to deal with,” the Opposition statement said.
The Opposition statement said the Minister and the Government must be strongly reminded by contravening this provision is undermining and compromising Parliamentary scrutiny role as intended by that subsection.
“Not providing the report on time is the same as withholding information from Parliamentary due process of scrutiny. Clearly this is bad governance and the Speaker should not allow the Executive to bend the law to suit its ineffectiveness,” it said.
The Parliamentary Opposition also called on the Speaker to ensure the executive complies with the requirements of the law.
“Do not compromise Parliamentary procedures or undermine its scrutiny role. It will set a very strong precedence not to tamper with the law and with Parliament processes,” it said.
The Opposition statement says the Ministry must be strongly reminded that this is not a mere formality.