Ministries can make do with 2017 budget, says Elrington
The fiscal year 2017 commences on April first and the budget for the upcoming financial calendar has been presented by the Barrow administration. While the annual financial plan will be debated at the end of the week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington says that his government department will feel the pinch but won’t negatively affect the operations of the Foreign Ministry. Likewise, he defends the budget despite glaring discrepancies and criticism from independent economists.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“The allocation is going to be reduced by just over two hundred thousand dollars I am told, and I think it is going to be a call on our CEO and our finance officer to make sure that what we are given is adequately and efficiently used so that it should not impact negatively on our performance. I have had initial discussions with the CEO and he assures me that we should be able to make do with what we’ve gotten. Personally, I tend to be very frugal and I have always been of the view that we could do much more with the resources that we have than we have been doing traditionally. So I don’t think that it’s going to impact our performance negatively. As a matter of fact, I would want to think that it might help to encourage us to be much more efficient in the use of our resources which are getting increasingly scarce now, and we have to learn, to my mind, to be more efficient.”
“Finally, your thoughts on the overall 2017 budget.”
“Well, the 2017 budget to my mind is good news. I will tell you personally that I was very, very worried while the renegotiation of the Super Bond was taking place because I know how difficult it is for creditors to agree to alter the terms under which they made their loans in the first instance. I have been studying the situation in Greece. They have gone through a terrible time, terrible, terrible time and I was fearful that Belize would have been in for that kind of time. But, to the contrary, I think it is absolutely amazing that in fact the prime minister found it possible to honor its commitment to make the final tranche of the raise that had been promised to the public servants. My only hope, my only hope is that the public officers will in fact be as faithful in the discharge of their obligations to the public as the prime minister and the government has been in our discharge to them in terms of their salaries and entitlements.”