Categorized | Opinions

Peoples Television (PTV) reflects briefly on the Budget

The budget theme: Transitioning to a more efficient, responsive and affordable public service

The long expectant wait for the 2011 budget is over.  One financial year is ending.  Another is beginning.

Ahead of its presentation, the budget definitely commanded more interest than after.

Talk of layoffs, outsourcing, and public service transformation that had been going around for months, had served to drive speculations that the new budget would be something of a real game changer.
Many people were waiting to see how  it would affect them.  Information from several official sources,
seemed to point to  shifts in emphasis from public sector maintenance to    private sector stimulation.
It was predicted, for example, that to accomplish this, the public sector would have to be pruned and that the revenue released would be invested in private sector innovations.

That the process of creating jobs and a tax base would be started in earnest in 2011–
That mining, energy,  tourism and communications could all be in line to benefit. Questions ahead of budget day were therefore more about exactly what would change than about whether change would come.

One day after however, analysts scanning the presentation were still so sure their predictions were right that some managed to convince themselves that they had missed the part of the presentation where the changes in direction were indicated by Minister of Finance and Chief Minister Reuben Meade.

It took a reread to get them to change their minds. Quipping that they would have expected it on April 1st, It was as if the chief minister had pulled off the ultimate trick for 2011 one week before all fools day.
Titling his budget presentation:  Transitioning to a more efficient, responsive and affordable public service,”  the Chief Minister had made certain that only the most careful  of observers would discern  how the changes revealed in his 2011 budget would affect them.

Communications Minister Kirnon was one of those who understood. Commenting in his contribution to the budget debate, he explained to those who may have been looking forward to innovations for economic stimulation that the wide range of incentives already in place for the private sector were attracting only a handful of entrepreneurs, and that the effect of adding more was uncertain at best.
Neither was this the time to experiment with change for the sake of change.  The Chief Minister ‘s nudge was everything needed at this time.

It would be all about “transitioning”– from coming to work late to coming on time, from wasting time on social networks to making a serious effort—from minding one’s own business to minding the government’s business.

But incentives for these necessary changes, it turned out, were just as hard to find as incentives for private sector investment.

Checking the numbers for clues, it was found that government’s total expenditure would be $134,500,000.

That recurrent programs would consume $97 million of this amount, one million down from 2010. And that capital expenditures on infrastructure would account for the balance, up from last year.
Tax brackets would shift slightly and tried and true strategies like improving tax collection and reviewing fees would protect the dependable course on which the country had been set in 2010.

Transitioning was the key. The Chief Minister felt movement had been started in the right direction.
Although some might wish to debate the pace, the fact was established and the government expressed confidence that Montserrat’s direction would, in time, be verifiable from periodic observations.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

The budget theme: Transitioning to a more efficient, responsive and affordable public service

The long expectant wait for the 2011 budget is over.  One financial year is ending.  Another is beginning.

Ahead of its presentation, the budget definitely commanded more interest than after.

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Talk of layoffs, outsourcing, and public service transformation that had been going around for months, had served to drive speculations that the new budget would be something of a real game changer.
Many people were waiting to see how  it would affect them.  Information from several official sources,
seemed to point to  shifts in emphasis from public sector maintenance to    private sector stimulation.
It was predicted, for example, that to accomplish this, the public sector would have to be pruned and that the revenue released would be invested in private sector innovations.

That the process of creating jobs and a tax base would be started in earnest in 2011–
That mining, energy,  tourism and communications could all be in line to benefit. Questions ahead of budget day were therefore more about exactly what would change than about whether change would come.

One day after however, analysts scanning the presentation were still so sure their predictions were right that some managed to convince themselves that they had missed the part of the presentation where the changes in direction were indicated by Minister of Finance and Chief Minister Reuben Meade.

It took a reread to get them to change their minds. Quipping that they would have expected it on April 1st, It was as if the chief minister had pulled off the ultimate trick for 2011 one week before all fools day.
Titling his budget presentation:  Transitioning to a more efficient, responsive and affordable public service,”  the Chief Minister had made certain that only the most careful  of observers would discern  how the changes revealed in his 2011 budget would affect them.

Communications Minister Kirnon was one of those who understood. Commenting in his contribution to the budget debate, he explained to those who may have been looking forward to innovations for economic stimulation that the wide range of incentives already in place for the private sector were attracting only a handful of entrepreneurs, and that the effect of adding more was uncertain at best.
Neither was this the time to experiment with change for the sake of change.  The Chief Minister ‘s nudge was everything needed at this time.

It would be all about “transitioning”– from coming to work late to coming on time, from wasting time on social networks to making a serious effort—from minding one’s own business to minding the government’s business.

But incentives for these necessary changes, it turned out, were just as hard to find as incentives for private sector investment.

Checking the numbers for clues, it was found that government’s total expenditure would be $134,500,000.

That recurrent programs would consume $97 million of this amount, one million down from 2010. And that capital expenditures on infrastructure would account for the balance, up from last year.
Tax brackets would shift slightly and tried and true strategies like improving tax collection and reviewing fees would protect the dependable course on which the country had been set in 2010.

Transitioning was the key. The Chief Minister felt movement had been started in the right direction.
Although some might wish to debate the pace, the fact was established and the government expressed confidence that Montserrat’s direction would, in time, be verifiable from periodic observations.