Categorized | Local

DFID stunts GoM Budget Estimates

l-r B. Roach, Mary Thompson(partially hidden), Kato Kimbugwe, Karen McGeorge, Richard Erleback, and Drew Tetlow

The DFID budget team of Karen McGeough, Richard Erleback, Drew Tetlow, Mary Thompson and Kato Kimbugwe, wrapped up their mission in Montserrat with a press conference at the Governor’s Office on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

Their mission was two-fold as noted in a Statement provided to the press and in writing at the end of the conference. To conduct a review of budget performance in 20111/12 and; assess the need for budgetary aid for the next three years covering 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The press conference was a fairly lively one and must have been expected as the Montserrat Programme Manager, McGeough revealed that the discussions with the Montserrat teams have sometimes been not easy.

The team made a statement at the beginning recalling that the current discussions were preceded by several visits by DFID ministers and officials all of last year, mentioning the various commitments and promises, all of which were, “particularly important in ensuring continued support of the UK public in the context of an austere economy,” noted in the statement.

At the end however, the GoM must not be camping happily, as the team informed: “GoM are finalising revenue and expenditure projections taking on board our discussions. We will make final commitments on the basis of the revised projections.”

That statement suggests a deviation from the expected, following all the new and hard work, understanding, the Premier had alluded to earlier, that all Ministries and Departments had been putting in for many weeks over the latter months of last year.

The DFID budget team expressed throughout the press conference their concerns with the shortfall of revenue in the current year expected to be “$5 million dollars less (from $45m – $40m) representing 11%.” They blamed this “largely by poor compliance…the collection of tax arrears has so far failed to deliver significant returns.”

That was in the face of their commendation in the fact that according to them, “The reduction in domestic revenue has been accommodated by the GoM (by) constraining expenditure,” which said was achieved from”, “unfilled vacancies across the civil service and efforts by accounting officers to constrain expenditure.

Their single recommendation on that is a follow-up on a statement that cause Premier Meade to be referred to now as “suicidal”. “GoM take appropriate actions to tackle non-compliance, including the use of bailiffs and prosecution.”

Another area of concern for the team is the call on Government to “complete it actuarial review of the civil service pension scheme, and implement recommendations for mitigating short and long term exposure.”

The GoM were to reconsider membership and payments to regional bodies to ensure they are essential and represent value for money.

The team was pressed for information as to how the Government plans to activate and revive the economy in spite of the much talked of increase in construction. They repeatedly referred TMR Bennette Roach to seek the answers from GoM. Eventually Kimbugwe offered a response. This and other explanations and answers will be published in our next issue.

Excerpts and more from the press conference will be available online at TMR’s site www.themontserratreporter.com.

We have been unable to contact for reaction the Minister of Finance or Financial Secretary who we learnt are both away in Europe (Brussells).

(See related articles): http://www.themontserratreporter.com/news/local/minister-duncan-praises-montserrats-stoicism-and-determination-commits-supporthttp://www.themontserratreporter.com/editorial/dfid-is-obviously-dissatisfied-with-much-on-budgetary-affairshttp://www.themontserratreporter.com/news/local/dfid-mission-to-review-montserrats-20122013-budget-begins:

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

l-r B. Roach, Mary Thompson(partially hidden), Kato Kimbugwe, Karen McGeorge, Richard Erleback, and Drew Tetlow

The DFID budget team of Karen McGeough, Richard Erleback, Drew Tetlow, Mary Thompson and Kato Kimbugwe, wrapped up their mission in Montserrat with a press conference at the Governor’s Office on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

Their mission was two-fold as noted in a Statement provided to the press and in writing at the end of the conference. To conduct a review of budget performance in 20111/12 and; assess the need for budgetary aid for the next three years covering 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15.

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The press conference was a fairly lively one and must have been expected as the Montserrat Programme Manager, McGeough revealed that the discussions with the Montserrat teams have sometimes been not easy.

The team made a statement at the beginning recalling that the current discussions were preceded by several visits by DFID ministers and officials all of last year, mentioning the various commitments and promises, all of which were, “particularly important in ensuring continued support of the UK public in the context of an austere economy,” noted in the statement.

At the end however, the GoM must not be camping happily, as the team informed: “GoM are finalising revenue and expenditure projections taking on board our discussions. We will make final commitments on the basis of the revised projections.”

That statement suggests a deviation from the expected, following all the new and hard work, understanding, the Premier had alluded to earlier, that all Ministries and Departments had been putting in for many weeks over the latter months of last year.

The DFID budget team expressed throughout the press conference their concerns with the shortfall of revenue in the current year expected to be “$5 million dollars less (from $45m – $40m) representing 11%.” They blamed this “largely by poor compliance…the collection of tax arrears has so far failed to deliver significant returns.”

That was in the face of their commendation in the fact that according to them, “The reduction in domestic revenue has been accommodated by the GoM (by) constraining expenditure,” which said was achieved from”, “unfilled vacancies across the civil service and efforts by accounting officers to constrain expenditure.

Their single recommendation on that is a follow-up on a statement that cause Premier Meade to be referred to now as “suicidal”. “GoM take appropriate actions to tackle non-compliance, including the use of bailiffs and prosecution.”

Another area of concern for the team is the call on Government to “complete it actuarial review of the civil service pension scheme, and implement recommendations for mitigating short and long term exposure.”

The GoM were to reconsider membership and payments to regional bodies to ensure they are essential and represent value for money.

The team was pressed for information as to how the Government plans to activate and revive the economy in spite of the much talked of increase in construction. They repeatedly referred TMR Bennette Roach to seek the answers from GoM. Eventually Kimbugwe offered a response. This and other explanations and answers will be published in our next issue.

Excerpts and more from the press conference will be available online at TMR’s site www.themontserratreporter.com.

We have been unable to contact for reaction the Minister of Finance or Financial Secretary who we learnt are both away in Europe (Brussells).

(See related articles): http://www.themontserratreporter.com/news/local/minister-duncan-praises-montserrats-stoicism-and-determination-commits-supporthttp://www.themontserratreporter.com/editorial/dfid-is-obviously-dissatisfied-with-much-on-budgetary-affairshttp://www.themontserratreporter.com/news/local/dfid-mission-to-review-montserrats-20122013-budget-begins: