Parliament passes $19.4m Supplementary Budget
The $19.4 million Supplementary budget for financial year 2018-2019 was approved in Parliament yesterday, after three days of deliberations.
The passing of the Supplementary budget, tabled by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, last December was greeted by loud applause from Members of Parliament.
During the discussion, Members of Parliament raised concerns about infrastructure, water, health, education and other issues.
The decision to increase the salaries of public servants as well as the pensioners was a popular topic. In tabling the budget, Minister Sili said his goal is to ensure macroeconomic stability is maintained and at the same time Government is in a position to deliver the services demanded by the public.
He said the Government would continue to ensure quality spending and prudent allocation of resources.
Summary of Revenues
The new and additional revenues amounts to $11.3million and exclusive of the $2.1million in new development project grants are as follows:
• $3million will be sourced from our partnership with the Government of New Zealand through the Joint Policy Action Matrix. The successes as illustrated through the implementation of the deliverables outlined within the JPAM have resulted in this additional grant;
• $4.1million excess dividends received from Government Corporations;
• $1.8m increase in Income Tax arising from the salary adjustments;
• $2.1m increase in VAGST Private Sector in anticipation of increased consumption due to the COLA;
• $331,945 in additional VAGST created by the additional expenditures requested.
Total funds expected as a result of the reallocation of existing budget resources will generate $5.97million as follows:
• $5.8million from the Statutory Vote - These are $1.3million in savings accummulated from appropriations to cover the cost of foreign exchange, $3.3million savings from VAGST refunds based on accounts currently with the Ministry for Revenue and $1.2million savings from domestic debt servicing due to completion of Polynesian Airlines’ loan with the UTOS;
• $165,000 from the Ministry of Finance - Identified savings from counterpart funds appropriated for the Vaisigano Bridge as well as the Agribusiness Project.
Summary of Additional Expenditures:
The total amount of additional current payments exclusive of development projects total $17.3million and are as follows:
• $5.2million topped up to the personnel envelopes of all the 36 Ministries and Corporations financed under the Main Estimates to facilitate the COLA to be effective in the first pay of January 2019;
• $677,529 additional for the Statutory Vote:
• $88,200 to finance the readjusted salaries of the judiciary in line with the recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal approved by Cabinet in June 2018;
• $589,329 in principal and interest payments for the STEC’s default loan as per FK(18)32;
• $30,266 for the Office of the Ombudsman to facilitate a Cabinet approved salary adjustment that requires an amendment to the Appropriation Act;
• $202,600 for the Ministry of Agriculture for the following:
• $28,800 membership fee for FFA;
• $143,800 contract variation in the rent paid for the FAO due to delays in finalizing new premises;
• $30,000 for the IFAD replenishment fund;
• $585,900 to the Ministry of Education to top up the following expenditures;
• $125,700 for the salaries of new school inspectors that were recruited by the MESC including their transport allowances;
• $282,100 for the Long Service Benefits of Teachers who have already made claims for payout;
• $178,100 for End of Contract Benefits for School Principals and Vice Principals.
• $2.4million additional under the Ministry of Finance for the following:
• $65,000 to top up VAGST for development projects;
• $100,000 additional required for the audit fees of development projects now due;
• $1million capital injection for the STEC as per FK(18)32 to buffer operations of the Corporation while their masterplan is being compiled;
• $636,747 remaining on full payment for the transfer of the MedCen building to the Ministry of Finance to be paid to the DBS;
• $626,820 increase in the below line appropriation to finance the increase in the pension;
• $203,100 for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to pay for utilities owing on the operation of the Early Warning System sirens as part of its co-location with Digicel;
• $177,820 to the Ministry for Justice and Courts Administration to adjust the salaries of judges as recommended by the remuneration tribunal and approved by Cabinet;
• $232,188 to the Office of the Electoral Commission to cover rent not appropriated for DBS Building and NPF Plaza;
• $284,913 for the Office of the Legislative Assembly to cover the remaining months of the financial year to await decision on their new location or new building;
• $5million to the National Health Services to cover $3m in personnel overexpenditure and $2m to cover the OVT;
• $2.26million for the Ministry for Prisons and Corrections to cover the remaining construction payments for the current phase of the Tanumalala Prison.