The annual Government Budget is prepared on a financial year (FY)
basis. The FY for the Government runs from 1 April of one year to
31 March of the following year. For example, 1998 is from 1 April
1998 to 31 March 1999.
The Budget serves two purposes:
a. It serves as a record of the approved levels of expenditure
and accountability in the usage of government funds; and
b. It is also a plan of the estimated government revenue and expenditures
for the FY.
About a month before the FY starts, the Minister of Finance would
present the annual budget that has been approved by Cabinet to Parliament,
normally around end-February or early-March. The budget debate and
Committee of Supply sessions then follow, where Members of Parliament
can query the Government on the expenditure of funds in the previous
FY, as well as the proposed budget for the next FY, for the various
ministries and organs of state.
After Parliament passes the Supply Bill, thus giving its approval
of the budget, the President then needs to give his assent to the
bill before it can come into effect. The President's role is to
safeguard the past reserves of the nation, and he may withhold his
assent to the Bill if, in his opinion, the estimated revenue and
expenditure are likely to draw on past reserves.
Once the President gives his assent to the Supply Bill, it is then
enacted as law as the Supply Act. The Act will then control the
amount of money that the Government may spend in the coming FY,
and for what purposes this money may be spent on.