…President says steps being taken to encourage more rapid spending
With only half of the allocations in Budget 2016 spent just three months before the presentation of a new budget, steps are being taken to encourage more rapid regional spending.
Government is considering the establishment of planning units and broadening the scope of the National Tender and Procurement Administration (NPTA) in order to help accelerate the level of regional spending.
President David Granger told media operatives on Wednesday evening that there needed to be a better approach to encourage spending within the administrative regions.
His comments came in light of the revelation made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan that only half of the 2016 National Budget was spent some nine months into the fiscal year.
Granger said he was aware of the issue and plans were in place to solve the problem.
“We are solving the problem in two ways…planning units and broadening the National Tender and Procurement Administration,” he said.
The President explained that “there needs to be more careful planning so that the budgetary allocations can be spent in a timely manner”. “It is a question of planning; there are no incompetence or inefficiencies and we are looking at the need to have a strong National Tender and Procurement Administration because all of the 15 Ministries use a single Board and the Board obviously needs to be expanded and given the capability to do more work.”
He noted too that Government was moving ahead with the Procurement Commission, which would also be useful in this regard.
The Finance Minister, according to reports in another section of the media, indicated that the slothfulness of the spending could be attributed to political personality issues within regional administrations.
He also suggested that the slowness could be because some agencies were caught off-guard with an early budget.
He was quoted as saying that some agencies were “so accustomed to being relaxed and lackadaisical (in their approach to getting things done) that they were surprised by the early budget and were unable to get their footing.”
Nonetheless, it is the hope of the Administration that these problems would be addressed in time for next year’s spending activities.
Budget 2017 will be presented by the Finance Minister in the National Assembly on December 5.