The Panamanian Parliament, of opposition majority, today decided to return to the Cabinet (council of ministers) the State's general budget bill as of 2019 amounting to 23,318 million dollars, for its reformulation, informed the Legislative Body.
The determination to return the budget was taken by the Legislative Budget Committee of the National Assembly (AN, Parliament), which is chaired by Deputy Benicio Robinson of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).
Robinson told reporters that after more than a month of analysis of the state's projected spending for 2019, the 13 members of the Budget Committee have returned it to the Cabinet to review and reconsider the amounts allocated to different ministries and institutions.
The MP said that it will remain in the hands of the Executive "to make the amendments required to the same budget".
He explained in that sense that what has been done is to return the budget with the amendments that were made to the Commission, such as cutting surpluses in the exceeding items of some institutions, for which, he said, adjustments were made by increasing it to others.
"We cannot make amendments without making the cut, which means that we have made the cut to 23,000 million dollars for 420 million dollars," after the institutions "requested more than 900 million dollars."
As for the National Assembly, Robinson said that within these 420 million dollars about 25 million were requested, after he was cut more than 40 million and his budget is left 90 million dollars.
Even so, the deputy clarified that the return of the budget has not been made in retaliation to the cut made to Parliament.
Robinson stressed that after the Cabinet evaluates and reformulates the Budget, it will return it to the National Assembly for discussion and approval in three readings.
The Vice Minister of Economy of Panama, Gustavo Valderrama, introduced on July 26 before the National Assembly the bill of the State general budget as of 2019, amounting to 23,318 million dollars.
In the bill, the institutions with the most resources allocated are the Ministries of Education with 1,598 million dollars; Health with 1,490 million dollars; Public Works with 1.046 million dollars; Public Security with 807 million dollars, and Housing with 360 million dollars.
The budget bill as of 2019 is 2.3 percent (549 million dollars) lower than the one introduced as of this year 2018.
The projection for 2019, which must be approved by the AN, of 71 seats and a large opposition majority, projects a real economic growth of 5.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
It includes tax revenues of 6.594 million dollars, contributions of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) for 1.74 billion dollars and other income of the Non-Financial Public Sector (SPNF) for 2,992 million dollars.
The Panamanian Government introduced Parliament a budget bill as of 2018 for 23,397 million dollars but then raised it by 470.8 million dollars, to 23,867.8 million, on the recommendation of the Parliament's Budget Committee, which finally approved it.