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Budget for 2015 of EC$971,367,582 to be debated on January 12, 2015

Budget for 2015 of EC$971,367,582 to be debated on January 12, 2015

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The stage has been set for the national Budget debate slated for January next year.

Members of Parliament on both sides of the House of Assembly stated their positions on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2015, presented by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, during a meeting{{more}} of the House of Assembly yesterday.

During his presentation, the Prime Minister stated that the Budget Day is January 12, 2015.

He presented a budget Estimate of EC$971,367,582.

Presenting the Estimates, the Prime Minister listed a number of new initiatives, including the employment of 36 new public servants, for positions in the ministry of national security, the ministry of national mobilization and the ministry of foreign affairs, among others.

“One new programme called High Court Additional Judges is included in the 2015 Estimates under the responsibility of the Registrar of the High Court. This programme provides financial resources to increase the number of judges sitting at any given time,” Gonsalves said.

“The main objectives of this initiative is to reduce the disposal time of matters coming before the courts; this has been a complaint for quite some time.”

The Estimates include current expenditure of $560,798,044 and capital expenditure of $296,350,513, which will be financed by current revenue of $532,343,200 and capital receipts totaling $239,024,382.

While the Prime Minster said that he expected the proposed figures to obtain the full support of the House, the Estimates he presented have been dismissed by members of the Opposition as “unachievable” and “inflated.”

Rising first to debate, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace questioned if funds were available to fulfil the national Budget.

“We are presented these figures… but there is a deficit in there. There are some on the revenue side, which are not achievable… later on in the year when it comes to implementation, what you will find is that you cut back our capital programmes,” Eustace lamented.

The opposition leader accused the prime minister of “over estimation,” which he said, causes the country’s growth prospects to decline.

The two political leaders sparred for a brief moment over the subject of Petrocaribe, after which Eustace dismissed Gonsalves’ explanation of the amounts owed to Venezuela as “ole talk.”

“I’m tired of this slip shod manner of dealing with things,” Eustace said of the Estimates.

Up to press time, similar sentiments had been echoed by opposition Members of Parliament Dr Godwin Friday, Daniel Cummings and Roland Matthews, while government minister of health Clayton Burgin and Senator Julian Francis, were among those who defended the Estimates.(JJ)

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