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Govt proposes $796m variation

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Two days before Finance Minister Colm Imbert delivers his mid-year review of the 2018 Budget, Government has announced plans to use $796,297,635 originally allocated to the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) for recurrent expenditure.

The reallocated funds were originally earmarked for capital projects under the IDF but they will not be fully utilised in fiscal 2018 because contracts have not been finalised.

The variations, which go before Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee this afternoon, include $1.7 million for outstanding invoices to the Urban Development Company (UDeCOTT) for repairs and maintenance to the OPM; principal and interest payments due on a loan from First Citizens Bank for modernisation programmes at the St Michael’s School for Boys, the St Mary’s Children’s Home and the St Dominic’s Children’s Home at a total cost of $21,554,732.66.

Another $34.5M of the First Citizens loan is for construction of regional assessment centres at Manahambre in Princes Town and Chaguanas, a workshop centre at Reform Road and a workshop centre and transition home in St Madeleine.

A $159 million allocation is proposed for the Ministry of Education, $75 million of which will be used to pay arrears of increments and to upgrade the salary scale for primary school teachers. An additional $42 million will be used to pay contractors for cleaning and related janitorial services and $42 million for security services.

A supplemental increase of $121 million is proposed for the Ministry of Health, with $10 million to pay private institutions for critical health care services, inclusive of renal dialysis treatment. The remainder goes to regional health authorities.

Out of $169.2 million for the Ministry of Public Utilities, $61.2 million will go to T&TEC for installation and maintenance of lighting for streets, recreational parks and facilities, plus $48 million in reimbursements for the 25 per cent rebate for customers whose electricity bills are $300 or less.

WASA will be reimbursed $60 million for water improvement rates collected under the Waterworks and Rates Conservation Act.

Government also is proposing an allocation of $122 million for the Ministry of Rural Development to pay CEPEP contractors and $100 million to the Tobago House of Assembly for payment of arrears of salaries to employees of the Tobago Regional Health Authority for 2016-2017.

Of the $62.5 million allocated for the Ministry of Works, $54 million will be used for road rehabilitation, maintenance of cable barriers, traffic light signals, and desilting of water courses.

An allocation of $11.2 million is proposed for the Ministry of Housing to finance the principal loan obligation for the Real Spring Housing Development Project.

The variation breakdown is as follows:

Service Commissions—$1,376,570
Tax Appeal Board—$908,770
Office of the Prime Minister—$10,000,000
Tobago House of Assembly—$100,000,000
Ministry of Education—$150,000,000
Ministry of Health—$121,000,000
Ministry of Public Administration—$20,846,408
Ministry of Public Uilities—$169,272,692
Ministry of Rural Development—$122,000,000
Ministry of Works—$62,500,000
Ministry of Housing—$11,200,000


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