PIDDA: key topic of question in third budget amendment

The AL president expressed his understanding on the financial conditions carried-forward into this year’s Government Investment and Development Expenditure Plan (PIDDA) made yesterday public budget debate an unusual one.
Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong sat-in at the parliamentary plenary yesterday to present the government’s third budget amendment in a year. In it were necessary extra investments in commercial and employee subsidies, among other areas.
Lawmaker Ron Lam identified a gap where the destination of the funds originally assigned to settling bills of public works this year was meant to be. These funds were later revealed by the director of the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) Iong Kong Leong to amount to MOP4.8 billion.
Iong said that the funds will be carried forward to next year’s budget so that they can be used to settle bills when each project concludes.
Iong explained that the carrying-forward was necessary due to the delayed, if not suspended, progress of public work projects caused by the several Covid-19 outbreaks this year. “I must stress that it’s beyond the government’s will to see them delayed,” he said.
Lam tried to find identify concrete evidence about whether the PIDDA for next year is actually MOP14 billion, instead of the MOP18 billion figure announced previously.
In response, Ho In Mui, vice director of the DSF, said that the works planned for next year will be settled by next year’s funding; and the MOP4.8 billion of carried-forward funds will be used to settle works planned for this year, currently unconcluded and thus unpaid.
Lam considered his question unanswered, so he repeated it to the officials, who responded with the same answer.
At this, President Kou Hoi In of the AL express his understanding, saying that the MOP4.8 billion will be a considerable extra sum of money on top of the PIDDA for next year, although the government will start with MOP18 billion as the budgeted sum.
The bill was passed unanimously and the budget will be enacted today. AL

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