House approves increased budget

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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THE House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the $11.4-billion increase proposed in the 2018/19 supplementary estimates, increasing the annual budget to $802.3 billion.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke highlighted that $300 million had been included in the budget to help stem the dengue fever threat from the aedes egypti mosquito.

Dr Clarke also noted that the budget now includes $516.8 billion in non-debt spending, and $285.6 billion in public debt spending.

He said that the increase was driven by the adjustments to non-debt expenditures, which moved from $501 billion to $516.8 billion. However, that increase was offset by a $4-billion or 1.5 per cent reduction in debt expenditure.

He said that this has reallocated fiscal space within and between Government's ministries and departments, including the $4.8 billion allocated under a special early retirement programme for public sector workers, and for increases in travelling allowances to public officers.

He also explained that $3.6 billion had been allocated under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service's budget to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, including $1.5 billion for the Government's HOPE programme, and a further $2.4 billion for payment of retroactive wages owed to Government employees who were not covered under the original budget.

— Balford Henry

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