In the National Assembly |29 January 2021
R2.6 billion advance on 2021 budget approved
With the 2021 budget yet to be presented and approved by the National Assembly, the government has in the meantime sought the withdrawal of R2,611,787,886.75 from the Consolidated Fund for its expenses in the first four months of the year.
The sum was green lighted by the National Assembly yesterday, authorising the government to make use of the nearly R3 billion for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary for the service of government until April 30, 2021.
Leader of government business Bernard Georges clarified that the R2.6 billion is not a supplementary budget request but rather an advance on the R11,013,648,296 budget for 2021.
Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Naadir Hassan is scheduled to bring this budget before the parliament on Tuesday February 9.
Although not a rule, the government budget for a financial year is presented, debated and approved on at the end of the previous year, such as last year when the initial 2020 budget was presented in October 2019.
“The Constitution anticipates a delay in the approval of a budget and it states that if a budget has yet to be approved, for various reasons,[…] the National Assembly, through a resolution, can authorise the government to spend a sum of money in the first four months of a new financial year,” explained Hon. Georges.
He noted that the advance will allow the government to continue with its functions as the National Assembly considers the budget.
Members of the National Assembly were more or less in unanimous agreement on the need to cover the government’s expenses at the start of this year.
The advance in the budget was approved with 33 votes in favour.