Ministries escape budget cuts

Thursday June 02, 2016 Written by Published in Politics
Minister of Finance Mark Brown pictured at a press conference yesterday. 16060115 Minister of Finance Mark Brown pictured at a press conference yesterday. 16060115

MINISTER of Finance Mark Brown has confirmed there would not be any cuts in the budgets of government ministries in the 2016-17 financial year.

 

During an announcement on the 2016-17 budget that will be tabled in Parliament next week, Brown said the government had committed to maintain the budget of certain ministries.

CI News had earlier reported claims that Ministry of Finance and Economic Management had asked the government agencies to cut back on their budget proposals.

This was denied by Brown, who added that the budgets of some ministries had been “bumped up”.

“We haven’t made any cuts across the ministries. In fact, there is a commitment by the government to ensure certain ministries’ budgets are maintained,” Brown said.

“These are social ministries, education, and health and also agencies like tourism.”

Brown said as in previous years, the government had also made commitments to new initiatives within the budget.

He said there were a number of areas they were financing in terms of operation of the ministries in the social sectors right through to economic sectors.

Brown said they were contributing a significant amount of funding towards the capital side of the budget including new projects, equipment, machines, buildings and other items that were a priority, especially on the outer islands.

“Specific funding has been set aside to assist the Ministry of Justice to overcome the backlog of court transcripts..

“The backlog is causing significant problems for court staff and judges to be able to consider cases that are (before the) court, simply because of the number of transcripts that have not been translated.

“We are setting aside $120,000 a year for the next two years to help the ministry to get this backlog and court transcripts up to date.”

In addition to this, Brown said government had put in place an allocation for the establishment of an online business registry.

He said the registry would be contained on a digital database for the ministry to administer.

“Rather than going through a hard time with a lot of required documentation, this whole process will now be simplified for business people and those who want to start businesses by making the registration of companies a lot easier.”

Brown added the financial performance of the government in the 2015-16 financial year was “very good,” adding they would be presenting a significant surplus this year.

“This is due to a number of one-off events that have allowed us to put this surplus through.

“These include the reduced underwrite airline cost driven by low cost of fuel, additional revenue from taxation particularly value added tax and unfilled vacancies in the various ministries.”

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