PEEPING TOM: The Alliance for Change (AFC) is attempting to shift the blame for its anti-development agenda towards the government.
Having been the architects of the $21B Budget cuts, it is now accusing the government of cutting fifty billion dollars from the Budget by not incorporating the funds held by the National Industrial and Commercial Inc. Limited (NICIL). This is the AFC’s latest ploy to deflect attention from its incomprehensible actions.
Given the AFC's recent record, it is advisable that caution be exercised before accepting the numbers that party throws out for public consumption. However, even if it can be established that NICIL did over time receive in excess of fifty billion dollars, it does mean that this sum is available for use in the Budget or that it is being hidden or is part of a slush fund. NICIL is a body corporate. It was formed as a holding company for the shares which government has or had in a number of entities. It is also a parent company for a number of entities in which the government has a stake. It is also vested with the buying and selling of government properties and it is empowered to make investments. NICIL is 100% owned by the government of Guyana and was formed not by the PPPC administration. It was incorporated under the Corporations Act, an Act of Parliament, in July 1990 during the PNC regime.
Article 216 of the Constitution of Guyana provides that all funds received by Guyana should be paid into the Consolidated Fund, except for revenues or other monies that are payable or held, by or under an Act of parliament, into some other fund established for that specific purpose.
NICIL was formed under the Corporation Act which is an act of parliament and it has an account which is held for the specific purpose of holding the proceeds of government interests as well as for the proceeds of divestment. This account is therefore not in contravention of the Constitution of Guyana.