Nevis Premier Presents 2008 Multi Million $$$ Budget

Charlestown, Nevis
December 17, 2007

Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance Hon. Joseph Parry presented a $115,396,000 budget for 2008, a 10 percent increase over the 2007 budgeted amount of $104,507,860. He made the announcement on Monday December 17, 2007, before a packed gallery and a live multi media broadcast, during a two and a half hour presentation at the Nevis Island Assembly Chambers in Charlestown.
 
The Budget described as one which would Move Nevis to a higher level of Progress through people empowerment was expected to increase expenditure by 11 percent which is estimated at $105,908,000. The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) therefore, is expected to realize a current account surplus for 2008 of $9,488,000.
 
According to Mr. Parry, a number of critical areas would benefit from large allocations in 2008. Current expenditure in the Legal Department is expected to increase by 4.8 percent, for the purpose of salary and allowance of legal counsel and the employment of additional staff.
 
The Premier’s Ministry increased by 9 percent to cover the cost of employing additional School Crossing Guards, Court Reporters and bailiffs. Significant sums will also be spent on the purchase of law books and furniture and equipment for the offices at the Court House.

Additional resources would also be given to the Disaster management Department. These resources will be used to draft and implement a new disaster plan for hazards, develop comprehensive disaster management plans for the districts and communities in Nevis; develop a five year comprehensive disaster management strategy and establish natural hazard impact assessment guidelines for development projects.
 
The Ministry of Finance, Statistics and Economic planning will increase by 13 percent. Most of the increase will go towards the payment of domestic debt as a result of the Government’s increase in domestic borrowing relative to foreign borrowing. 
 
Due to the increase in employment and purchase of vehicles over the years, there has been an increased allocation for both medical and vehicle insurance. With the price of fuel expected to continue the upward trend, the allocation for the cost of electricity consumed by government departments was also increased and consideration was also given to domestic consumers who would bear a percentage of the cost of fuel surcharge from January 2008.  
 
Mr. Parry said two new divisions would be added in the Ministry of Finance namely the Internal Audit Division and the Fiscal Policy Unit.
 
“The Internal Audit Division will be used to complement the work of the existing Audit Department by focusing on internal accounting systems and thus will assist in the timely submission of final accounts.
 
“The Fiscal Policy Unit will focus primarily on debt monitoring and fiscal performance, analytical projections and providing advice to Cabinet on fiscal and economic issues. This Unit is very important in our effort to improve debt management and achieve our fiscal targets over the medium to long term,” he said.
 
The Ministry of Communication, Works, Public Utilities, Posts, Physical planning, Natural Resources and the Environment will receive an increase by 14 percent which reflected the efforts of the Ministry to improve the quality of service in its various departments through the employment of additional staff.
 
The Project Management Unit and the Philatelic Unit will be established. The former will be responsible for the implementation of projects financed by Bilateral and multilateral Agencies. Premier Parry said the Unit was imperative due to the large number of capital projects planned for the future. It will coordinate with the foreign agencies, review tender documents, enforce procurement guidelines and ensure that Government’s commitments are carried out.
 
In the case of the Philatelic Unit, the government had taken a recent decision to establish the existing Philatelic Bureau as one of its departments and the increased expenditure in that area would be offset by the revenue intake.
 
The Ministry of Health increased by 9.2 percent which was necessary to provide additional doctors, supplies and material.
 
“Health care is very important t this government’s plan to empower its citizens to become productive members of society and thus we will continue to improve our delivery of service for both preventative and curative,” he said.
 
The Ministry of Education and Library Services’ expenditure increased by 10.73 percent. The increase would facilitate the upgrade of the scales for trained teachers including those in the Special Education Programme and the increase in the number of trained graduate teachers.
 
The Human Resource Department received an increase of 19 percent to accommodate training and a proposed increase of staff which included the employment of a Human Resource Manager.
 
The Ministry of Social Development, Youth, Sports, culture, Trade and Industry and Consumer Affairs will receive an increase in allocation of 11 percent “as my government strives to positively impact the social infrastructure of the economy. This we will do through participatory and sustainable action programmes in sports, culture, community development and social services,” Premier Parry said.
 
The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing, cooperatives and Fisheries received a decrease of .66 percent in allocation. The decrease Mr. Parry said was not reflective of a scaling down of programmes but rather a concerted effort by the Ministry to achieve more with less.

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