Speaker, we have often bemoaned the fact of non-participation by this august House in IMF/Government consultations. And indeed, it is not a today event; it is not even a yesterday event. All along we have been bemoaning this fact that government, in this case, the Executive, have often pushed the Legislature to a footnote and because we are the representatives of the people, we need to be informed in these engagements. So that way, there is some relevance in the Deputy Managing Director coming to meet Members to confer with Members of Parliament; I believe that is very, very relevant.
Madam Speaker, the Minis ter
responsible for Finance and Economic Planning, wrote to you, to your goodself to inform you about the impending visit of the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. And you referred the matter to Leadership for further consultations. And I believe what we decided on was that, yes, the idea is welcome, we could meet him.
However, it would be most inappro- priate to let him address Parliament in plenary. It is not even the substantive Managing Director of IMF who is coming -- it is the Deputy Managing Director, so we cannot entertain him here. We agreed to meet him at a committee level.
One would say that the Finance Committee would be an appropriate Committee to meet him, except that, Madam Speaker, the IMF support for government programme is multi-faceted and so, if the entire House is meeting him in a committee, we proposed to this House that that would be better than confining him to the Finance Committee alone, which is why we agreed to meet him in the Committee of the Whole.
Now, the next issue that people have raised, is the subject matter for discussion. That is really very relevant, we need to know what we are going to talk about. Overall, we know that it is going to hinge on the budgetary support of IMF to Government but we need to know the status of the programme in order for us to ask relevant questions. So it is important that we have this. What is the vehicle to assessing this?
The Finance Minister has written to us, so certainly, we may have to invite the Finance Minister for further discourse on this, for further briefing. Maybe, that will involve Leadership and if you like, the Leadership of the Finance Committee, then we will inform the House appropriately. Fortunately, the visit is on the 17th , which is about two weeks away from now. So we have sufficient time to
invite the Minister responsible for Finance and Economic Planning to brief us on the subject matter and then we can move on.
Madam Speaker, we also need to know how long the interaction is going to take. If, indeed, it is going to be for about ten minutes or fifteen minutes, we might as well not have it because it might be productive to this House and to the nation. So we may determine for ourselves how long the interaction is going to last in order that we can derive maximum benefit from it.
We do know for a fact that that same day, on the 17th of February, he has an appointment with civil society. He is going to have a broad interaction with civil society. Now, if it should happen that maybe, upon adjournment, we go into a Committee of the Whole, maybe, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock and meet him and maybe, about fifteen to twenty minutes, he has to move away, it would not be relevant.
So we must determine for ourselves when we are going to meet him and how long we are going to meet him. At the Business Committee, we were even proposing that if the idea is acceptable to the House, then we may further propose that we break into the plenary and move into a Committee of the Whole to have the meeting and thereafter move back into plenary to continue with the business of the House.
That, the engagement is relevant, Madam Speaker, I believe, it is without dispute. What we need to know is the subject matter, how long it is going to last and when we are going to meet him. I believe these are the issues that should concern us and indeed, Leadership possibly Leadership and the Finance Committee would meet to further dialogue