Next Wednesday, November 30, is the maximum term that the Congress of the Republic has to approve the debt, financial balance and budget projects of the public sector for the fiscal year 2023. However, less than a week from the established limit, the Budget and General Account Commission of the Republic still does not have an approved opinion, a previous step so that it can be discussed in plenary.
This delay is due to a consensus has not yet been reached between the Budget Commission and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), which evaluated more than 400 regulatory proposals and 500 investments that in sum implied a cost of S/17,000 million for the State.
José Arriola, vice president of the Budget Commission, said that these additional demands are also requests made by the ministries themselves. Likewise, he declared that, although there was an impasse with the MEF, yesterday they resumed a dialogue so that a consensus forecast can be worked out.
According to the congressman, this Friday the 25th the opinion of the 2023 Budget Law will be debated and voted on, so that it can be presented to the Plenary, which will be analyzed and discussed on November 28, 29 and 30.
Arriola also specified that the opinion will be framed within the budget ceiling proposed by the Executive, which amounts to S/214,800 million.
“Any proposal that a project be considered will be referred to the Ministry of Economy to give us your technical opinion. If it is viable, it happens, and if it is not, logically it will not happen,” he told La República.
According to two former Economy Ministers consulted by this means, this delay of the Budget Commission in approving the opinion has not been seen before despite the fact that there are always additional demands from congressmen.
Luis Miguel Castilla, also executive director of the Videnza Institute, adds that this discussion is going to be extended when the opinion reaches the plenary session, for which reason he considers that the Budget Committee should give it priority and that the regulation can be approved within the deadline, in Otherwise, the Government’s proposal is promulgated.
“We are facing a very worrying situation, in which the congressmen are wanting to introduce much more spending initiative and the MEF has not been able to contain this avalanche of requests, and this makes the discussion very complicated, it will depend on what is achieve and time is against you”, noted the former Minister of Economy.
For his part, Alfredo Thorne, director of Thorne & Associates, points out that the MEF should not give in to requests that do not have financing and, that, if included by the Congressgo out to alert the consequences that these incorporations would bring.
“The MEF should alert the population about what would be the consequences of the approval of expenses that the Budget Commission is proposing. It must be recognized that the president of this commission is being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office; It is the first time that we find that a person who has problems with the law is the person who allocates the expenses within the Budget Commission, which is unheard of,” Thorne emphasized.
Both Castilla and Thorne indicated that although Parliament is empowered to make changes to the budget bill, these must be 100% financed, not alter public accounts and have the endorsement of the Executive Branch.
Minority opinion could go to plenary if no agreement is reached
Luis Miguel Castilla specified that if an agreement is not reached with the budget, It is possible that the MEF, through some congressmen, will approve a minority opinion so that it can be discussed in plenary.
“If the opinion presented by the commission is voted against, the minority opinion would enter into discussion, but that has never happened. We are in a situation of legal vacuums”, the ex-minister stated.
He added that this discussion is accentuated more with the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which leaves the door open for Congress to issue laws that generate spending.
Alfredo Thorne, former Minister of Economy
“I had not seen a similar situation like the one now, in which the Budget Committee wants to put its own expenses and the MEF is just watching without any direction on the budget.”