Parliament’s first session for 2018 on Tuesday was a lively one.
The item on the agenda was the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti’s $24.4 supplementary budget for the financial year 2017/18.
Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi, opened the session with a prayer before welcoming back M.P’s from the festive season break.
Once the welcoming formalities were out of the way, it was time to get down to business.
Gagaifomauga No. 3’s M.P. and former Cabinet Minister, Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, opened the proceedings with a speech that touched on a number of issues ranging from church taxes to the airline.
He also questioned figures in the budget in relation to the new Tanumalala Prison.
Many M.P.’s spoke in support of the supplementary budget and also used the opportunity to highlight the needs of their constituencies.
The discussion continued last night where Parliament was expected to pass the budget.
The following is the summary of the budget expenditures:
Summary of Additional Expenditures:
As already stated, the total additional expenditures requested under this supplementary budget amounts to $24.4million and are as follows:
• $12.4million for the Statutory Vote;
- $14,400 for telephone allowances for members of the Judiciary.
These are mandated benefits and are now included as part of the salaries of the members of the Judiciary;
- $65,089 additional required under the External Debt Servicing
- $2million additional required under the Income Tax Refunds;
- $3million additional for Duty Rebates;
- $7.35million additional required for VAGST Refunds;
• $102,915 to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour;
- $20,915 additional required for the salary of the Principal Human
- $82,000 to finance a replacement vehicle for the Ministry as approved by Cabinet;
• $700,000 for the Ministry of Education;
- $500,000 additional required for the salaries of teachers;
- $200,000 additional to top up benefits for teachers;
• $5.66million to the Ministry of Finance;
- $2.55million for Duty on materials required for donor funded
- $2.55million for VAGST on materials used for donor funded
- $50,000 counterpart costs for the Apia Waterfront Development;
- $20,000 counterpart costs on the project for Disaster Risk
- $40,000 counterpart costs on the UNFPA Multi Agreement;
- $10,000 counterpart costs required under some initiatives of the Customary Land Advisory Commission;
- $150,000 additional monies required under the counterpart costs
for the Enhancing Resilience of West Coast Road Project;
- $290,000 as part payment of the Hosting Fee for the 2019 Pacific Games;
• $60,270 for the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration;
- $60,270 for the remuneration of the Judicial Research Analyst/Consultant;
• $5.2million to the Ministry for Prisons and Corrections;
- $3.7million to complete the current contract on the construction works for the 8 cell block building of the new prison;
- $1.5million initial costs for the construction of the Administration
Block for the new prison;
• $144,539 for the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;
- this is intended to finance the 4 priority posts requested by the MPMC;
• $131,000 to the Fire and Emergency Services Authority
- $131,000 to finance new personnel required for the new 911 Call.