National Assembly approves supplementary estimate of 2022 |05 December 2023
The National Assembly yesterday approved a motion for the supplementary estimate of R1.8 million (R1 million 821 thousand 817 rupees and 80 cents) for the year 2022.
Twenty (20) members of the ruling party voted in favour of the motion tabled by Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges, while nine members of the United Seychelles caucus voted against it.
When presenting the motion, Mr Georges explained that it was to regularise overspending observed in the 2022 Auditor General’s report.
“After the Auditor General had done its 2022 audit, it was observed that in three cases, there was an over expenditure on what was budgeted but not an over expenditure as such. So in order to regularise this, the assembly has to approve the technical over expenditure,” explained LGB.
He said that all three cases related to grants or donations. The first related to the new Magistrate’s Court, which had overspent R1.442 million. Secondly the meteorological service which had an overspending of R232,000, and thirdly the Office of the Mayor of Victoria with an overspending of R147,000. Mr Georges clarified that all the over expenditures was rectified by an additional grant.
He said since the assembly was going into recess, it was ideal for them to regularise this in line with the Constitution and Standing Orders of the National Assembly
It should be noted that prior to taking the motion, the Speaker had allowed a ten-minute recess to allow the US caucus access to read the motion and related information, as they claimed they were not privy to such information. This was reiterated by the two US members who intervened on the motion, namely the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, and elected member for Port Glaud, Egbert Aglae.
They both claimed they were being deprived of information on the motion, with Mr Pillay stating it was the second time this year.
“Government is doing this now as it would appear as an anomaly in the auditor general’s report of 2022, so they are rushing to do it now, But the question the people should be asking, is this the only overspending the government has done,” queried Mr Pillay.
For his part, Mr Aglae focused on the assembly procedures which he said was not being properly followed especially with regard to dissemination of information, to allow them to do their work properly.
Mr Georges responded by stating that everything was done in accordance with the Constitution and to the National Assembly procedure.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Finance, National Planning & Trade, Naadir Hassan, expressed his appreciation to the National Assembly following the approval of the Appropriation Bill, 2024.
In a press release issued yesterday he said “Upon the approval of the Appropriation Bill, 2024, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Assembly who voted for the bill. The Budget is an important document which lays out the government’s vision and plan for the short and medium term, in relations to spending, collection of revenue, policy and investment.”
The 2024 budget, he said, continues to lay the foundation for success, ensuring investment and spending remain sustainable, subsequently resulting in a decrease in the country’s debt to GDP ratio.
“As a responsible government, we will continue to invest in the country’s infrastructure, and our people, as and when the fiscal space allows. The government understands the need to be prudent because of external shocks which Seychelles remains vulnerable to.”
Minister Hassan presented the 2024 Budget speech on Friday November 3, followed by the response of MNAs. On November 13, the National Assembly convened into a committee, where budget dependent entities defended their allocation.
“The Committee Stage in the National Assembly is very significant, being a platform providing transparency and allowing for further understanding of the budget process, in particular allocation, expenditure, and revenue collection.”
In conclusion, Minister Hassan once again expressed a special thank you to all staff of the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade for their professionalism and commitment.
“Preparing a national budget is a very long process which involves a lot of discussions and drafting, and exchanges prior to the final budget being presented and approved. Our staff have year in and year out, proven to be resilient, flexible and hardworking. For that, I want to say thank you for your professionalism which you continue to show at all times.”
Patsy Canaya/press release from Ministry of Finance, National Planning & Trade