Parliament to meet again in six weeks for Supplementary Estimates
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January 21, 2014

Parliament to meet again in six weeks for Supplementary Estimates

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonselves yesterday presented his 2014 budget, describing it as “interim in nature” and signalled that Parliament will have to meet in about six weeks for Supplementary Estimates and a Supplementary Appropriation Bill to respond to the widespread devastation caused by the floods last Christmas Eve.{{more}}

The new estimates and bill would contain “both altered and additional provisioning to reflect the profoundly changed circumstances of our country,”, the Prime Minister said.

The Christmas Eve disaster, described by experts from the World Bank as a “one in a 100 years event,” caused damage estimated at $330 million, or 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nine lives were lost and three persons remain missing. In total, over 11,000 or 10 per cent of the population were directly affected by the disaster, with persons reporting totally destroyed or damaged homes and loss of all furniture and appliances.

The Prime Minister said Government is looking to raise between 10 and 15 per cent of the estimated damage to commence the immediate rehabilitation and recovery.

“Accordingly, I am immediately mobilising, at least, between EC$35 and $50 million in new monies,” the Prime Minister announced.

“Thus far, I have assembled over $30 million, including some $10.5 million in credit for building materials. I am confident that my government will be able to access the resources immediately required,” he added.

In announcing the focus of the upcoming supplementary measures, the Prime Minister said:

“It is unlikely that capital projects, for which funding has already been specifically sourced for particular projects and which are ready for imminent implementation would be shelved. However, the scope of some existing capital projects is likely to be altered and additional allocations made.”

“Further, capital projects of an urgent and critical nature, not now present in the approved Estimates for 2014 would be included in the Supplementary Estimates for supplementary appropriation,” he added.

The grand project for rehabilitation and recovery will be executed under the rubric “Arise SVG With The Six Rs” – Relief, Reconstruction, Roads (including bridges), River Defences, Reforestation, and Relocation (including housing).

Yesterday’s Budget address followed the presentation in December of the 2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, which amounted to $911,571,046.

The Budget Address was preceeded by the Throne Speech by Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne which offered a glimpse into the Government’s legislative agenda for the new parliamentary session.(KM)