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Jul 4, 2012

Budget cuts; are they skin deep?

As have been identified per budget for fiscal year 2011/2012 versus fiscal year 2012/2013, there are some significant cuts have been done to the key high priority areas of pro poor policies and poverty reduction and social protection.  Our analyst continues with another examination of the now dubbed disciplined budget.  Other significant sources of revenues within the fiscal year 2012/2013 are expected to come from four main sources of inflows. These include exports of goods and services; foreign direct investment; borrowing from abroad; and grants, gifts and family remittances. However, foreign direct investment has decreased over the last three years of one hundred and eleven million dollars, while the other key sector of petroleum is projected to decrease from an output of thirty million dollars to nineteen point five million dollars.  And while there have been no additional borrowing since 2008, but rather debt obligations which are eighty-eight cents of every dollar or eighty-eight percent of G.D.P.  This therefore leaves a gap of lacking sources of revenues or income flows. Another key source of inflow is grants and gifts. However for the fiscal year 2012/2013 there has been no new projects. And this also leaves a gap to add to the shortfall of expected inflows. 

There have, however, been significant increases to overseas representations. For instance, overseas representation in the United Nations which has budget allocations of one point five million dollars has been boosted by three hundred and eighty-eight thousand, six hundred and thirty-six dollars; while overseas representation in Los Angeles has been boosted by one hundred and eighty thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine dollars. Overseas representation in Brussels has increased to twenty-two thousand, two hundred and seventy-two dollars, while overseas representation in Salvador has been significantly boosted by one hundred and eighteen thousand, two hundred and fifty-one dollars.

But the Prime Minister says that there have been some errors in placement in the budget book and other funds have been reshuffled into different categories giving the appearance that a ministry or a program may have been severely affected when it is not. News Five spoke to the P.M. this morning and he said that the Ministry of National Security has, in fact, received more funds in the 2012-2013 budget.

 

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“If you look at budget book—both with respect to the current budget and the capital budget—there is an increase for the Ministry of National Security, there is an increase for the Ministry of Health and there is an increase for the Ministry of Education. Now in that overall increase, if priorities have been reassigned, if there had been reallocation of lines, if it is a matter of having taken things from over here, but compensating on another end; that is as it should be since it is a fluid process; but there is no way in hell the overall figures represent any kind of cut. How is the budget come up with? It is based, even if only roughly, on the submission made by ministry. When we did a sort of first cut exercise, I remember in particular the Minister of National Security saying, look man I want a sit down with you or the F.S. so that again within the overall envelope I can be sure that my priorities are being addressed. That exercise was in fact done with financial secretary. I understood from him that he came away from the exercise satisfied. So to the extent that that exercise resulted in, like I said, moving pieces around and  questions as to why this piece is here and that other piece is there; really you’d have to deal with him on those details.”

 

Adele Ramos, Amandala

“And the allocation to some of the south side schools like Sadie Vernon, St. Michaels; those also appear less in the figures.”

 

Dean Barrow

“Again, Patrick Faber will have to answer those questions. I really simply must stand on my position which is that overall the allocations have increased. And so what’s done with the increased allocations in terms of the break down is really a question for the individual ministers to address.”

 

Adele Ramos

“Is there any room for negotiation down the road within the particular entities in government, and particularly the schools as well, for them to come back and renegotiate some of these numbers?”

 

Dean Barrow

“Absolutely. I wouldn’t want to suggest that it is something that can be lightened or easily done because we should have as much as possible finality. But clearly no, it’s not an exact science. I’m sure my friend Jules would say it is not a science at all. So if you find that maybe you made a mistake, then you have to be prepared to correct that; not just with respect to your judgment as to where a priority should be, but also simple technical errors. For example, I looked and I was astounded. I saw that in the capital budget of the ministry of human development where there was one point five million for boots last year, there is zero this year and we are expanding the boosts. They shifted it to the recurrent and put it under grants. So I am not sure I necessarily agree with that. But it is things like that.”

 

Barrow said that his financial team, namely Financial Secretary Joe Waight, Deputy Financial Secretary Marion Palacio, and Budget Director Artemio Osorio will be available to answer the public’s questions about the budget.

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1 Response for “Budget cuts; are they skin deep?”

  1. Storm says:

    I’ve visited the consulate in Los Angeles, and it is a minimal operation. I can’t imagine how that base expense is justified, let alone an increase. We need some auditor to go around and check these claimed expences for government operations with a fine-tooth comb. QUESTION EVERY PENNY!

    I’m sure an auditor can find waste, fraud, and corruption in almost every single government office. Let’s get to a bare-bones budget. We simply cannot keep putting our nation into debt and spending tomorrow’s revenue today. It’s immoral for GOB to steal from our own children, which is the effect of deficit spending.

    LET’S GET OUTSIDE EYES TO REVIEW OUR FINANCES AND COME UP WITH NEW SUGGESTIONS.

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