The presentation of our annual budget is perhaps the most anticipated event on the local parliamentary calendar. And with two elections constitutionally due in 14 months, there was a certain air of expectancy that preceded this one which was premised on a certain price for oil and gas.
Since I am not an economist or any foreteller of the fortunes of the energy sector, I will not advance a view on the achieve-ability of a $47.749 billion revenue prediction or on the practicability and viability of some of the measures announced.
What captured my attention was not so much the fiscal measures announced during a presentation that spanned in excess of three hours, but what happened immediately after. For in the many years that I have been attentive to budget speeches, it was the first time that I had witnessed such rapturous, elated and ecstatic celebrations following one such presentation. Without a doubt, the greatest fanfare that ever followed any statement of this country’s finances was budget 2019/2020. Never before was there such thunderous applause and desk thumping by the members of the Government bench. There was jubilant laughter and wide grins. There were high fives and handshakes. For that moment the parliamentary chamber shook and rattled from desk thumping so hard and loud that it may have destabilised the structural integrity of the woodwork of the hallowed house.