PARLIAMENT'S Public Administration and Appropriation Committee (PAAC) Wednesday approved the Third Supplementary Estimates for 2021/22, paving the way for its passage in the House of Representatives next Tuesday.
The estimates had a fairly uninterrupted trial last Tuesday when it was tabled in the House, until PAAC Chairman Mikael Phillips raised the point that a third supplementary estimates weeks after the second estimates seemed “untidy”.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke, who tabled the estimates, informed the House that they were designed to treat exclusively with the needs that had arisen as a result of the changes to the assignment of subjects and departments, agencies, and other public bodies by the Government recently and did not add to the total budgeted expenditure of $893 billion for 2021/22.
Financial Secretary Darlene Morrison pointed out that the new estimates were limited exclusively to the needs that have arisen as a result of the recent ministerial changes, and the creation of the new Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs to be headed by former Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte.
She explained that the resulting adjustment to the assignment of subjects and departments, agencies, and other public bodies, which led to the creation of a new ministry and the removal of a ministry, require under the Financial Administration and Audit (FAA) Act financial instructions that a supplementary budget be prepared, to address the budgetary allocations in respect of the changed entities during the course of a fiscal year.
There has been no indication of the amount of funds that have been transferred from the various ministries but the information provided by the ministry revealed the following:
(1) The closure of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change and transfer of its functions to Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; this also results in the Forestry Department, a department of the former Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change becoming a department of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation;
(2) The establishment of Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which will incorporate the Law Revision Secretariat from the Ministry of Justice's central ministry; as well as the Legal Reform Unit and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, both former departments of the Ministry of Justice; and
(3) The transfer of Records and Information Management, and Information Regulators Services from Ministry of Education and Youth (formerly Ministry of Education, Youth and Information) to Office of the Prime Minister.