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Govt outlines $224m in spending

Friday October 31, 2014 Written by Published in Economy
Minister of Finance Mark Brown. Minister of Finance Mark Brown.

Additional details of the budget were released yesterday by the Government in a series of meetings.

Minister Mark Brown and Secretary Richard Neves from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management made an early start to their day with a “Budget Breakfast” meeting at the Islander Hotel in Panama, which was followed by a briefing for Parliamentarians.
In what has become an annual event, government officials, members of the private sector, and the general public gathered for an early feed to hear a presentation on the 2014-15 budget.
The Government has laid out just over $224.3 million in expenditure – an increase of $27.9m from fiscal 2013-14.
A revised capital plan from the Government has earmarked $2m for bridges and drainage in Rarotonga, $5m for repaving of the main road between Panama and Tupapa under Project City 3, a million over two years for re-sealing the runway in Atiu, and $4.7m for renewable energy.
Further allocations include $1.25m for a Rutaki foreshore revetment expected to be completed in 2015-16, and $900,000 for the water tank subsidy programme.
The budget is also allocating $16m for the Te Mato Vai water infrastructure project.
The Government expects to collect $187m in revenue - including overseas development assistance - to fund spending, which also include slight increases in education and health expenditure.
Minus aid money, the government expects to earn $123.2 in revenue, with 59 per cent of that coming through taxation and 34 per cent through grants.
While no mention was made of any significant Government investments in education, Brown revealed the Cook Islands has approached the Government of China to secure a grant of $10 million for the building of the merged Apii Nikao Maori school.
Additionally, while no funds have been set aside for political reform initiatives, Brown did not rule out funding in a possible supplementary budget next year.
Further scrutiny of the budget will be taking place today when MP’s debate the budget bill during a scheduled sitting of Parliament.
Members of the opposition and a handful of MP’s from the ruling Cook Islands Party government were present at yesterday’s information session, conducted by Neves.
Absent from the session were MP’s Teina Bishop and George Maggie from One Cook Islands, along with members of Prime Minister Henry Puna’s Cabinet.  

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