The 2022 Budget will be presented on Jan. 3, 2022.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on WE FM, on Sunday, that his government had initially planned to present the fiscal package on Dec. 13, but postponed the debate because of the funeral of Sir James Mitchell.
The body of Sir James, a former prime minister, will lie in state on Dec. 17, and this would have meant that lawmakers would have had to exit the Parliament building by noon on Dec. 16, to allow for the arrangements.
This also meant that the Budget Debate would have carried over to the following week.
“We never liked to do it in the Christmas week. So, we are going to reschedule the Budget Debate itself to Jan. 3, the first working day in January,” he said, adding that the Estimates will be debated on Dec. 13 and 14.
Gonsalves said that during the estimates debate, he expects “maybe an hour or so may be taken up, maybe slightly more — I don’t know what the speaker has organised with the opposition — for tributes to Sir James in the house”.
Sir James, who was founder of the main opposition New Democratic Party, quit electoral politics in October 2000.
He died on Nov. 23, age 90, after a brief illness that saw him being hospitalised at the Intensive Care Unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.
The prime minister said that because the debate for the Estimates is on Dec. 13, the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance, which is a requisite before the debate, will be held on Dec. 10, from 9 a.m.
“In fact, as I speak, the estates are being printed. I’m hoping that we would have them ready tomorrow morning to be distributed to the parliamentarians so they would have a good week before you have the debate on the Estimates, which would be quite good.”
“It’s been a tremendous amount of work this year, as you could imagine. All the time, it’s a lot of work but to deal with the budget in a situation of the second year of COVID and the volcanic eruptions there’re some real challenges but I believe we have gotten them pretty much right in addressing existing problem which we have to do — rebuilding, and at the same time, to keep the strategic focus of sustainable development and to continue with a number of programmes,” Gonsalves said on Issue At Hand.
In February, Parliament approved an EC$1.2 billion Budget for 2021.