Categorized | National News

$2.2 Billion Budget Passed

After two weeks of intense debate the 2012/2013 budget was passed in the House of Assembly Thursday afternoon, paving the way for the Christie administration to begin financially implementing many of the plans it has to “rebuild the country.”

The final budget is set at $2.2 billion – $1.8 billion for recurrent expenditure and $400 million for capital expenditure.
The substantive portion of the budget debate wrapped up Wednesday night, but for nearly five hours on Thursday parliamentarians went through the 74 Heads, which specify the allocations for each government ministry.

Free National Movement (FNM) Opposition members took the government to task on several portions of the budget, seeking answers into various increases and decreases.

A summary of the recurrent expenditure in the budget shows that the Department of Public Service is on tap to get $186,835,734, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration will get $25,408,122 and the Ministry of National Security – $3,658,755.

The Department of Immigration is allocated $18,889,973, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will get $49,096,917, the Ministry of Social Services will be allocated $3,153,482, and a sum of $13,421,532 is pegged for the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Tourism is allocated to get $85,664,643 and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing will get $4,366,352.
The newly created Ministry of Grand Bahama gets a $3,196,413 chunk of the budget.
During his contribution Wednesday night, Prime Minister Perry Christie said this budget represents a “solid start” on the promises the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) made during the campaign trail.
“In pursuing our agenda we will (take on) the reckless fiscal husbandry of our predecessors,” he said. “We have been up front and honest with the people that we will not pursue change by spending more money, meaningful and sustainable change requires a multifaceted approach taking in all aspects of the community.

“The 2012/2013 budget communication is clear on this point. My government is firmly committed to fiscal prudence and the return of the fiscal account to more sustainable levels.”

Prime Minister Christie said the PLP government’s objective in this area is stated very clearly and that is, at minimum, to balance the country’s expenditure and revenue accounts.

“That is our objective,” he said. “Accordingly, we acknowledge that we will need to seek flexible, innovative and fiscally responsible approaches as we implement our visionary agenda.

“I would again emphasise that we face an extreme time constraint in preparing the 2012/2013 budget. In finalising the budget we had very little discretionary room to maneuver, despite this I believe the 2012/2013 budget represents a solid start on our programme.”

A resolution was also passed Thursday paving the way for the government to borrow $512,175,424 to pay off the country’s deficit.
The budget will now head to the Senate.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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