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PM presents Supplementary Estimates to Parliament

PM presents Supplementary Estimates to Parliament

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Government presented supplementary estimates to Parliament this week, with funds allocated across four ministries.{{more}}

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the presentation to Parliament on Wednesday, following which there was intense debate from both sides of the house, which continued yesterday.

Gonsalves explained that the supplementary estimates were drafted to provide financial assistance and support for the disaster response efforts of the Government, following the flash floods which took place in December 2013, and caused severe damage across several parts of the country.

Of an approximately $84 million in the supplementary estimates, $11 million has been allocated to the Roads, Building and General Services (BRAGSA), which leaves approximately $72.98 million to be distributed between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Transport and Works and the Ministry of Housing.

“As you are aware, BRAGSA has been involved in clearing the roads, bridges and doing a lot of river training. A lot of clearing needs to be done and that is why we put that additional money there for BRAGSA,” the Prime Minister said, in explaning the $11 million allocation.

In reference to the $72.98 million, Gonsalves noted that the figure is indicative of the Government’s financial response to the natural disaster for the rest of the year.

“This figure represents 87 per cent of the total of the supplementary estimates to finance the Government’s response to the Christmas Eve disaster for the remainder of this year, because work has to be done this year, in 2015 and in 2016. There’s a lot of work still that will have to be done,” he said. “It can’t all be done this year or even next year.”

According to Gonsalves, the Ministry of Finance will receive $6.79 million, 8.3 per cent of the capital supplementary estimates, while the Ministry of Agriculture will receive 3.8 per cent, which is approximately $2.8 million.

The Ministry of Transport and Works is expected to receive about $44 million and the Ministry of Housing will receive $20.09 million.

The Prime Minister indicated that these monies will come from a variety of sources, including grants and loans from entities including the World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, International Development Association, the Disaster Relief Fund and other local businesses.

In his address, Gonsalves stated that while there is some question as to whether or not the Government can spend the capital monies in the budget and supplementary estimates, he feels satisfied that they can.

“The real problem comes, as far as implementation is concerned, on the capital side,” he said. “When I go through the numbers for these supplementary estimates, honourable members would see how carefully… we are fashioning the expenditure that I think they will have a reasonable chance of success in implementing the supplementary estimates in addition to implementing the capital budget.”

During a presentation at the House of Assembly in December, the estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2014 amounted to $911,571,046. (BK)

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