Estimates laid; Government spend to increase by 2.2 per cent

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Government’s Budget, setting out the Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the financial year 2016-2017, was laid in Parliament on Tuesday.

It is estimated that Government’s total expenditure for the financial year 2016-2017, on the accrual basis, will be $4,394.5 million. When converted to the cash basis, total expenditure is $4,331.7 million, an increase of $92.5 million or 2.2% over the revised figure for 2015-2016.

Of the amount approved for the 2016-2017 year, $4,040.1 million represents current expenditure while $1,255.6 million represents capital expenditure and amortisation.

Increased spending is expected in the areas of Wages and Salaries, Goods and Services, and repayment of principal and interest on Government debt; while current transfers are projected to decrease.

Health care and tourism remain top priorities, with the largest government subvention ($146.3 million) going to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; while $12 million has been set aside for the Barbados Drug Service to purchase drugs. The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority will receive $89.9 million and $9.1 million, respectively; and $80 million has been allocated to the Sam Lord’s Castle redevelopment project.

In education, the UWI will receive a subvention of $71.3 million, the Skills for the Future programme under the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation has been provided with an amount of $11.9 million; and $8.1 million will go towards completing work at The Lodge School.

See details below:

– Wages and Salaries are expected to increase over the revised amount for 2015-2016 by $17.8 million or 2.4% to $758.7 million. The increase is mainly due to increments.
– Expenditure on goods and services is expected to increase by $106.9 million to $459.9 million.
– Current transfers are projected to decrease, declining by $88.2 million or 7.7% to $1,059.2million.
– The repayment of principal and interest on Government’s debt is expected to account for $1,700.8 million compared to the revised projection of $1,686.4 million.

On the accrual basis, current revenue for the next fiscal year is projected at $2,737.6 million. On the accrual basis, when amortization of $821.7 million is taken into account, a baseline deficit of 5.0% is expected.

The Estimates for the 2016-2017 fiscal year include provision for the following activities:

(i) A current subvention of $146.3 million is being provided to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital;
(ii) A subvention of $89.9 million and $9.1 million has been provided for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority respectively;
(iii) $12.0 million and $7.1 million have been provided for the CAF Road Rehabilitation Programme and The IDB Road Rehabilitation Programme respectively;
(iv) Grant funding of $26.3 million is expected to be received as budgetary support and also to assist in carrying out the following programmes:
-Human Resource Sector Strategy and Skills Development;
-Storm Water Management Plan;
-Amalgamated Lab (Ministry of Health)
(v) A current subvention of $26.6 million and a capital subvention of $3.0 million have been provided to the Sanitation Service Authority;
(vi) An amount of $11.5 million has been provided for the Public Sector Smart Energy Programme;
(vii) A current subvention of $71.3 million has been provided to the University of the West Indies;
(viii) A current subvention of $19.0 million has been provided to the Welfare Department;
(ix) Skills for the future programme under the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation has been provided with an amount of $11.9 million;
(x) An amount of $12.0 million has been provided to the Barbados Drug Service for the purchase of drugs;
(xi) $4.0 million for enhanced access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises;
(xii) $80.0 million for the redevelopment of Sam Lord’s Castle;
(xiii) $1.5 million and $30.9 million to finance projects of the Barbados Water Authority funded by the CDB for the Upgrade of Water and Sanitation Study and the Canadian Commercial Corporation in respect of the Water Meters Replacement Project respectively; and
(xiv) $8.1 million to complete the Lodge School under the Edutech program.

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