Categorized | Local, News

UK and GoM, now focus on Capital Investments

“less on the recurrent and more on investments and technical expertise.”

by Bennette Roach

DFID Budgetary Team

As Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) wrapped up budget talks with the Government of Montserrat (GoM) last week, head of the team along with private sector advisor and in country representative stepped up their efforts to see Montserrat practice more fiscal responsibility as DFID changes its approach of support.

The budget team head Economic & Budgetary Aid Mission Karen McGeough, who is also the Montserrat programme manager for DFID, told reporters here last Thursday, resources would be better spent on capital investments and technical capacity than maintaining the government of Montserrat’s recurrent budget.

Both McGeough and the in country representative Kato Kimbugwe were reporting for the budget team, who over the previous week met the government team of the Hon. Financial Secretary, John Skerritt, Deputy Governor, Sarita Francis, Permanent Secretary Angela Greenaway, and Budget Director Lindorna Brade. The team also met with Chief Minister Reuben T. Meade early in the week and held sessions with other government leaders and members of the Opposition throughout the week.

Along with Karen and Kato, the budget team from the UK, included,  Economic Advisor Chris Collinson, Montserrat Deputy Programme Manager, Zoi Andrew, Social Development Adviser, Mary Thompson and Governance Adviser Dew Tetlow,
The two DFID representatives explained more what the Secretary of State Mitchell could have done during his visit when he told Montserrat to “pull up its bootstraps” along with words that brought outrage from Montserratians.

While throughout they made references to the Montserrat ‘tax payer’ the program manager expressed positivity that it would be an easier sell to the UK taxpayer, that DFID’s continued commitment to the island was being invested in capital projects and assistance that would enable Montserrat to become more self sufficient. “Supporting the island’s recurrent budget was maintaining the status quo and we don’t believe that is to the islands benefit,” McGeough said.

Much reference was made to the Road Map’ and the ‘Sustainable Development Plan’, which McGeough said, “…there are areas where some priorities maybe need to be given more clear emphasis and some things could, might be adjusted, maybe done in a more efficient way… but they were in keeping with the sustainable development plan and they are in keeping with the roadmap so there is no diversion from what is already being agreed  at the sub policy level.”
She noted the effort that had gone into planning with the various managers and government officials who, “helped us to understand why they had identified the areas that they wanted to take forward…”

She emphasised there were specific areas in which HMG was already supporting the government, “in relation to the Little Bay development and energy… I touched on…”
She added that, “in relation to the design of the port – and we know that there is some work going on at the land site development as well, that’s going to be taken forward…”

Present at the press conference with the DFID representatives were People’s Television, Denzil Edgecombe, ZJB’s news editor, Shirley Ann Queeley, GIU’s director and The Montserrat Reporter’s Editor in Chief, Bennette Roach. PTV put the question the new ‘transition’ and whether that will mean public service layoffs or grow the private sector a little bit first.

The theme throughout was about, “not putting more money in the recurrent budget. “That does not generate growth – instead, Key strategic investments, that have been properly tested and spending money in those areas, ICT, mining, geothermal, that we say could be a game changer- the deal going forward is less on the recurrent and more on investments and technical expertise,” the UK officials stressed.

How the transition is made, going forward now, they said, is a matter for the government who is already looking at “prioritisation and looking at the best uses of available resources…” one example: to see whether any services within government could be provided by the private sector.

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“less on the recurrent and more on investments and technical expertise.”

by Bennette Roach

DFID Budgetary Team

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As Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) wrapped up budget talks with the Government of Montserrat (GoM) last week, head of the team along with private sector advisor and in country representative stepped up their efforts to see Montserrat practice more fiscal responsibility as DFID changes its approach of support.

The budget team head Economic & Budgetary Aid Mission Karen McGeough, who is also the Montserrat programme manager for DFID, told reporters here last Thursday, resources would be better spent on capital investments and technical capacity than maintaining the government of Montserrat’s recurrent budget.

Both McGeough and the in country representative Kato Kimbugwe were reporting for the budget team, who over the previous week met the government team of the Hon. Financial Secretary, John Skerritt, Deputy Governor, Sarita Francis, Permanent Secretary Angela Greenaway, and Budget Director Lindorna Brade. The team also met with Chief Minister Reuben T. Meade early in the week and held sessions with other government leaders and members of the Opposition throughout the week.

Along with Karen and Kato, the budget team from the UK, included,  Economic Advisor Chris Collinson, Montserrat Deputy Programme Manager, Zoi Andrew, Social Development Adviser, Mary Thompson and Governance Adviser Dew Tetlow,
The two DFID representatives explained more what the Secretary of State Mitchell could have done during his visit when he told Montserrat to “pull up its bootstraps” along with words that brought outrage from Montserratians.

While throughout they made references to the Montserrat ‘tax payer’ the program manager expressed positivity that it would be an easier sell to the UK taxpayer, that DFID’s continued commitment to the island was being invested in capital projects and assistance that would enable Montserrat to become more self sufficient. “Supporting the island’s recurrent budget was maintaining the status quo and we don’t believe that is to the islands benefit,” McGeough said.

Much reference was made to the Road Map’ and the ‘Sustainable Development Plan’, which McGeough said, “…there are areas where some priorities maybe need to be given more clear emphasis and some things could, might be adjusted, maybe done in a more efficient way… but they were in keeping with the sustainable development plan and they are in keeping with the roadmap so there is no diversion from what is already being agreed  at the sub policy level.”
She noted the effort that had gone into planning with the various managers and government officials who, “helped us to understand why they had identified the areas that they wanted to take forward…”

She emphasised there were specific areas in which HMG was already supporting the government, “in relation to the Little Bay development and energy… I touched on…”
She added that, “in relation to the design of the port – and we know that there is some work going on at the land site development as well, that’s going to be taken forward…”

Present at the press conference with the DFID representatives were People’s Television, Denzil Edgecombe, ZJB’s news editor, Shirley Ann Queeley, GIU’s director and The Montserrat Reporter’s Editor in Chief, Bennette Roach. PTV put the question the new ‘transition’ and whether that will mean public service layoffs or grow the private sector a little bit first.

The theme throughout was about, “not putting more money in the recurrent budget. “That does not generate growth – instead, Key strategic investments, that have been properly tested and spending money in those areas, ICT, mining, geothermal, that we say could be a game changer- the deal going forward is less on the recurrent and more on investments and technical expertise,” the UK officials stressed.

How the transition is made, going forward now, they said, is a matter for the government who is already looking at “prioritisation and looking at the best uses of available resources…” one example: to see whether any services within government could be provided by the private sector.