Experts within the Ministry of F
At Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting the Financial Secretary proposed freezing employment to control growth in the wage bill and requiring statutory corporations and other authorities to become net contributors to the Consolidated Fund.
Prioritizing spending across Ministries to achieve 15% savings through a reduction in expenditure and/or increase in revenue collection was also proposed.
The government says the increased expenditure was related to millions of dollars spent to provide shelters, services, food, transport, contract labour in Codrington, and other expenses connected to the Hurricane Irma after September 2017.
“Additional employment to meet increased demand for professionals and others within the Government’s service also accounted for the escalation during the January to June 2018 period,” a Cabinet statement said.
The Financial Secretary presented a report that focused upon three broad categories: a) The fiscal performance of the government from January to June 2018; b) The critical challenges which the administration faces; c) The options from which the administration may choose in order to adjust for imbalances.
Total Revenue Collections, including non-tax revenue, during the January to June 2018 period, is estimated at $394.14 million dollars. Total expenditure during the same period rose to $464.15 million dollars.
There was a questioning of the amount of non-tax revenue reported under the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) line, during the period. The amount reported stands at $14.65 million dollars, when the Cabinet is persuaded that the amounts totaled as many as three times the sum reported.
The Financial Secretary reported that by the end of 2018, expected end-of-year net position will likely result in total Budget Expenditure exceeding published 2018 Budget by less than $5 million dollars, if certain options are applied.
Those corrective measures, in the form of options, were proposed by the Financial Secretary: d) Freezing employment to control growth in the wage bill; e) Requiring statutory corporations and other Authorities to become net contributors to the Consolidated Fund; f) Prioritizing spending across Ministries to achieve 15% savings through a reduction in expenditure and/or increase in revenue collection.
The Cabinet agreed to study the recommendations and to devise a three-pronged strategy that would include all proposed measures.