ST JOHN’S –– The government has so far spent over $87 million more than it budgeted for in 2015.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed as much in presenting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill Of 2015 to Parliament. Browne says most of the funds were used to cover increases in salary and wages, as well as the $7.5 million on the work experience programme; and an extra $11 million was spent on the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Fund.
“We are now spending on average $20 million a year educating our young people. We have spent an additional $11 million in 2015 supporting scholarships for students studying abroad.”
Browne said the government had spent an extra $20.5 million on the Mount Saint John’s Medical Centre and millions on the national beautification programme.
“There is a $13 million payment that was made. That payment went to National Solid Waste as part of the clean-up and beautification programme. These expenditures are being supported in many instances by transfers from the CIP programme to the Consolidated Fund. We transfer every month at least $1.1 million to solid waste from the treasury but in essence it is being funded
by the CIP programme.”
Browne said hundreds were put to work and paid up to $700 a week in the programme, and that over $1.2 million was spent on removing Sargassum weed from the beaches.
Over $4 million was also spent to meet salaries and train teachers and almost another $5 million on extra tourism promotions. Other extra costs included $1.6 million to fix the scoreboard at the stadium and $1.3 million to buy 20 new vehicles for the police.
Attorney General and Minister of Labour Steadroy Cutie Benjamin says it’s the first time in a decade that extra budgetary spending has been tabled in Parliament on time.
“What has not been done for over ten years by the former administration. Imagine us here today laying these bills before the House in accordance with the law.”