Budget must be evaluated relevant to resource availability
Stabroek News
April 4, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I refer to a report in your issue of 19 March 2002 captioned "Budget measures inadequate but affordable - director." There have since been a number of references to and interpretations of my comments carried in that report, which have caused me to believe that some clarification and elaboration might be useful.

I believe that one can only describe a government budget as adequate or otherwise if one is operating in an environment where there is a known and agreed level of optimal or desired economic growth against which to measure adequacy. Similarly, any evaluation of adequacy without reference to extant resource constraints and assumptions about parameters beyond governmental control would be flawed. It was in this context that I placed my response to your reporter's question and follow-up question on the measures contained in Budget 2002.

I thought that I explained that the contents of the Budget would have to be evaluated relative to what can be afforded in terms of the realities of resource availability and the dynamics of the domestic and international economies. I further expressed the view that the notion of adequacy is an elusive creature, which was mentioned in your report.

While I have no disagreement with your reporter's account of my responses to her questions, I might wish to suggest that the headline was provocative and potentially misleading. I believe that my comments as recorded in your report were clear, and cannot be interpreted as a negative assessment of the measures contained in Budget 2002. I continue to believe that Budget 2002 comprises a comprehensive set of solutions that are consistent with state policies and national developmental objectives.

Yours faithfully,

Ashni Singh

Director of Budget

Ministry of Finance