P.M. gets the last word on the budget
We’ll have more of that discussion with the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Health on Monday. But the burning issue of the week continues to be the budget. The annual budget debate for the current fiscal year concluded shortly after seven o’clock on Thursday night following a protracted discussion during which allocations and government expenditure for 2012-2013 were thoroughly analyzed. In delivering the final presentation to an audience of U.D.P. supporters, in the absence of the Opposition, Prime Minister Dean Barrow acknowledged the achievement of his administration despite the financial constraints that have befallen the region as a result of the bleak economic climate. The P.M. then went on to describe the budget as a progressive exercise in expansion, entrenched in government’s accomplishments over the past four years. The budget, he says, reflects considerable increases in recurrent and capital expenditure.
“We have done so very remarkably well. And anyway you slice it Mr. Speaker this budget, careful though it is, about avoiding the wasteful crony spending that was the hallmark of the P.U.P., is a growth budget. A budget of planned incremental but significant expansion and it is a budget now that is rooted in the success of the last few years and especially 2011-2012 when, despite the fact of two national elections, remember how every time when there was a general election and the P.U.P. was in office they would absolutely bust the budget? Despite the fact that we had two national elections in March, general and countrywide municipal, our financial and economic outturn for the last fiscal year was better than had been estimated. Central government’s accounts recorded primary surplus in excess of two percent and that was matched by a similar gross domestic product increase. So Mr. Speaker, it is an undeniable fact that 2012-2013 will see an increased outlay over 2011-2012 for the delivery of goods and services to the people of this country. It will see for the first time in our history Mr. Speaker gross domestic output exceed three billion dollars. It will see total government expenditure, now break the nine hundred million dollar barrier and come close to the billion dollar mark. Thus Mr. Speaker, no matter how the opposition carps, criticizes, falsifies and lies there is no gainsaying the fact of measurable, tangible, overall increases in both recurrent and capital allocations in this budget.”