Gov’t exceeds 2019/2020 $1billion budget by over $100 million

Minister for Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development, Ian Douglas presenting the supplementary estimates motion in the House of Assembly

For the fiscal year 2019/2020 in which the government of Dominica presented to the nation its  highest budget thus far –one billion, twenty million, one hundred sixty-four thousand five hundred and forty-five dollars ($1,022,164,555.00)– parliament, earlier this week, approved over $100 million in supplementary appropriation expenditure.

At the sixth meeting of the first session of the tenth parliament, on April 26, 2021, the motion was presented to the House by the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development, Ian Douglas, who appealed to his fellow parliamentarians to approve the said bill which amounted to one hundred and thirty four million, eight hundred and forty thousand one hundred and forty two dollars and twenty cents ($134,840,142.20).

For advances made from the contingency fund for the period of July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, Douglas told the House that the 7% or $8,940,782.00 from the fund was met through grant funding whilst 92% or $123,899,360.00 was funded by local resources and 1% equivalent to $2,000,000. was financed by loan funds.

He declared that the government continues to be prudent in the management of public funds and the supplementary estimates details a clear indication of the government’s firm commitment to be “transparent in financial matters.”

Receiving the highest chunk from the supplementary appropriation was the Ministry of Public Works in the sum of $57,239,909.00 –57%.

Douglas said, of this figure, $47,249,977.00 was approved to meet the outstanding payments for road resurfacing works at 25 locations as well as the Cochrane road rehabilitation, Melville river wall and the Checkhall Valley road rehabilitation project.

An amount of $4,439,365.00 was also reported as payment made for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Tatan road whilst the balance of $5,550,567.00 was injected into the community enhancement component of the National Employment Programme (NEP).

The Ministry of Finance which was allocated the highest amount of the 2019/2020 budget also received additional funds to the tune of $16,046,855.00.

With respect to the Office of the Prime Minister the sum of $2,928,666.00 was appropriated whilst $2,048,844.00 of this figure was approved for payment of housekeeping and maintenance  services at the former Ross University facilities which was transferred to the government of Dominica.

An additional $74,595.00 was allocated towards remuneration for the committee tasked with the responsibility of executing the thanksgiving and celebration concert which mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Additionally under the Office of the Prime Minister, $531,904.00 was granted for the purchase of two vehicles for use as the Prime Minister’s security fleet whilst $273,323.00 was utilized to facilitate refurbishment works of the Prime Minister’s office.

Additional budgetary provisions were also granted to the Ministry of Justice, Immigration and National Security, amounting to $4,097,208.00.

Of this sum, the Parliamentary representative for the Portsmouth constituency disclosed that  $791,051.00 was required to meet expenses for court matters, mediation agreements and professional fees to various lawyers representing the state.

For the consolidation of the law of Dominica for the calendar year 2017, the government is said to have spent $547,200.00 whilst an additional $2,758,953.00 was also appropriated to facilitate payment to Canadian banknote for the continued maintenance of Dominica’s passport management system.

As it pertains to the 2019 general election, $1,811,886.00 was appropriated to defray expenses of the election, Douglas stated.

For his Ministry, the senior parliamentarian stated that an additional $22,086,381.00 was made available by the government “in it’s frost to continue to empower the youth and  provide social safety nets for our people.”

According to Douglas, the government is acknowledging the urgent social needs of citizens hence, $1,800,00.00 was transferred to the Rapid Response Social Recovery Agency to assist with emergencies.

A humanitarian contribution in the amount of US$100,000.00 was made to the government of the Commonwealth of Bahamas to aid in the recovery and reconstruction efforts following the passage of Hurricane Dorian.

The government also authorised $90,000.00 to be used to meet salaries and allowances of the National Authorizing Officer and $12,685.00 was authorized to address the shortfall in budgetary allocation for retirement benefits.

Parliament earlier approved an emergency order due to the emergence of the Covid-19 virus which took effect from April 1, 2020, and saw the partial lockdown of our economy.

Therefore, Douglas said, one of the stimulus measures announced by the Minister of Finance to assist small businesses at such time was a $5 million loan facility through the AID bank.

“The government of Dominica and the AID bank entered into a loan agreement in May of 2020 and $3 million of the $5 million was made available to the bank immediately for unlending to the MSME at an interest rate of only 1%. The balance of $2 million was budgeted for in this fiscal year.”

An amount of $8,879,471.00 was also approved for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

“In addition, the sum of $6,747,440 was approved under the grant component of the World bank funded Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience project. This amount was utilized to facilitate payments to suppliers for the procurement of agricultural inputs, rental expenses and other related expenditures,” Douglas explained.

With respect to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development which received the second-highest allocation in the 2019/2020 budget, the sum of $7,585,323 was appropriated.

“In keeping with the Ministry’s vision of having at least one university graduate per household, the sum of $4,917,614 was approved as tuition fees for students pursuing higher education, Douglas explained.

With regard to housing, $19,200 was appropriated for the period July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, to provide rental assistance to the families of the silver lake community who were left homeless by a fire in December 2016.

Also $1,123,583 was approved for the rental allowance for the victims of Tropical Storm Erika and the extension of the displacement allowance for the said victims.

Payments of salary and traveling allowance in favor of the Coordinator of the Help Desk Tropical Storm Erika for the period July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, amounted to $1,142,783.

An additional budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health was also made to facilitate Dominica’s preparation for an immediate management of the pandemic to the tune of $4,980,956.00.

“In addition to this, an amount of $110,847.00 was approved to facilitate payment of expenses related to the handing over and opening ceremony of phase one of the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) held on the 6th of December 2019…and $338,642.00 was dispersed into the National Health Commission which functions as an interim board during the transition period to the new DCFH.

In the case of the Ministry of Information, Science, Telecommunication and Technology, the sum of $6,644,375 was approved to meet outstanding payments owed to lime for the period January 2019 to November 2019.

With respect to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs the amount of $97,500 and $96,178 were approved for the purchase of vehicles for the Protocol and Consular Affairs department and for the Embassy of the Commonwealth of Dominica in Cuba respectively.

Additional budgetary provisions were approved in respect to the Cabinet Office in the sum of $1,184,832 while $287,102.00 was approved to facilitate payments associated with the hosting of the swearing-in of the Ministers of Cabinet and a retreat for elected members in December 2019.

As it relates to payment of LIAT 1974 Limited, $136,103.00 was paid to the company for chartered services for the Cuban Medical brigadier to assist with the management of Covid-19.

The government of Dominica also bore the cost relating to the official funerals of former parliamentarians in the sum of $126,734.00 for Pershing A. R. Waldron, Luke T. Corriette, Arnold C. Active, James C. Royer and Gertrude Roberts.

Cabinet also approved the provision of motor vehicles to all former Prime Ministers which totalled $296,250.00.

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  1. Accountant & Co.
    May 4, 2021

    Yet another smoke screen by Skerrit and Co. Where are the details of the individual cost centres? Why don’t the citizens of Dominica ask questions? Why don’t our so called Journalists ask question? Why don’t DNO ask some telling questions? I rest my case.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  2. VereTere
    May 3, 2021

    Dominica’s budgets under this labour gang are budgets for a few that already have more then enough. Unfortunately the average Dominican once again doesn’t benefit and as long as these guys are in power it will stay that way. I just wonder when the masses will finally wake up.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
  3. Viewsexpressed
    May 2, 2021

    This Labour Government is a real Joke and a BiG FAKE. It’s heartening to hear and read some complicated States budget compliance and yet we just don’t trust this Failed incompetent Labour government. It appears that this Labour Government is just a fanfare on the road to nowhere. When will our people WakeUp and smell this Incompetent Labour Party Government and its Leadership?
    Thank you Hon. Douglas for your Commentary above. It’s really of interest to the people of Dominica to know and understand the Obvious incompetence of our States Resources which belongs be to the People of Dominica, where the majority of Families and young people without jobs are Suffering, while the big boys are happy, enjoy their many travels and enjoy their travel Per Diem. Development of a country means that our people are also established citizens and residents of the financial resources of our Dominica’. Too much Nonsensical thoughts under this failed incompetent Labour Government. They have…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  4. Jayson
    May 1, 2021

    They give Ian Douglas something to read and he reads it.

    Every Dominican knows that Ian Douglas has absolutely no idea what is happening in his ministry, much less for the country.

    The sad thing is that nobody cares.

    They better off just put Ian Douglas in a box and open it at intermission time for him to sing and for comic relief.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
  5. Ibo France
    April 30, 2021

    What is the true extent of Dominica’s indebtedness? What are the names of all the local, regional and intentions institutions the country owes money? Does the country generate enough revenue to repay these many multi-million dollar loans? Are we going to have to ask for debt forgiveness as we did post Maria? Why is the present Skerrit led government putting the future of future generations in serious jeopardy by borrowing so recklessly?

    The entire population should demand truthful andwers to these pertinent questions.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  6. Ibo France
    April 30, 2021

    Take a serious look at Dominica’s physical development. Take another look at the living standard of the average citizen. Take a third look into Healthcare, Education, National Insecurity, the Welfare System, etcetera. Does what you see amount to over $1 000 000 000 in recent times?

    Now take a serious look at the lifestyles of Mr. Skerrit, his ministers, Joseph Isaac and the politically well connected. Don’t you see where most of this money has gone to?

    As Dominicans remain mum about this financial recklessness by the ethically inept regime, the NATIONAL DEBT has ballooned exponentially to unprecedented heights. In fact, the national debt has been stretched to the point where it has lost its elasticity.

    Why don’t Dominicans grow a backbone and stand up? Is Dominica a nation of jellyfish? Just asking.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
  7. click here
    April 30, 2021

    Also $1,123,583 was approved for the rental allowance for the victims of Tropical Storm Erika and the extension of the displacement allowance for the said victims.

    Payments of salary and traveling allowance in favor of the Coordinator of the Help Desk Tropical Storm Erika for the period July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, amounted to $1,142,783.

    So it cost more the pay the salary and allowance of the Coordinator of the Help Desk than to rent homes for all the displaced people of petit savanne etc.? I want to know who that Coordinator of the HELP DESK was after TS Erica in 2015 eh. This is absolute nonsense. Why is he talking about Erica and expenses in 2019 when Hurricane Maria happened in 2017 and had a much more devastating effect. Non the less regardless of which disaster, why did it cost more to pay the persons salary and allowances, than to pay the rent for ALLLLL those displaced families. Rent in Dominica is NOT cheap.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0
  8. Nacinimod
    April 30, 2021

    Pardon the ignorance, but isn’t the purpose of a budgetary system to approve in advance, by parliamentary declaration, all proposed government spending?

    The as. backwards approach currently employed here in Dominica appears to be a deliberate strategy to subterfuge and low-ball government spending and hope to make up for the shortfall with after-the-fact Shenanigans under the guise of unavoidable adjustments and budget reconciliation. Obviously, it looks like opaque, some would say illegal, government financial practices as usual. We are the government and should have a say as to how our money is spent, not the Spend today and worry about paying it back tomorrow.
    The budget committee is supposed to come up with spending priorities, ranked by level of importance, debated and approved and submitted to parliament. Nearly, not all, emergencies should be anticipated. If that can’t be done one has to assume the budget committee is failing big time in its constitutional…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  9. Truth Be Told
    April 30, 2021

    A poor little third world island of 70000 people so heavily indebted, with no apparent means of paying back those debt! Burdening the country with debt so that a never see come see Prime Minister can live in style in a mansion. Dominicans is this right? Your children have to work to repay these debt, is this right? When Prime Minister Skerrit is gone, all he would have left Dominica is a legacy of debt, with no industry and no trade, just debt! Dominicans is this right? If a Prime Minister love their country they would be cutting cost not looking to increase the national debt at every turn so he can live sweet while the poor is indebted. But they deserve him because they support this nonsense!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  10. Mano & Skerro Laundromat Inc.
    April 30, 2021

    Government went over a billion dollars of their last budget, yet on the ground one cannot see how half a billion dollars was spent, except if they hiding the money in hair banks or private owned banks like the bank in Paix Bouche where police picked up over $500 thousand US dollars hiding in a bank located less than half a mile from the house of Roselyn Paul and less than half a mile from Skerrit constituency

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1
  11. Interesting
    April 30, 2021

    “$273,323.00 was utilized to facilitate refurbishment works of the Prime Minister’s office.” You must be joking. One can build on a house on this.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
    • click here
      May 4, 2021

      Also was it necessary? Have you all seen the wall he is building around his farm? After Maria he installed a perfectly good wire fence, then ripped it out and started building a massive thick wall with tiles on it.

  12. click here
    April 30, 2021

    why not a trillion? why not a zillion? Wasteful set of people. Every year the budget raises, and nothing of substance. How much money from the treasury alloted for national projects, but yet is CBI money that always ending up being used to pay for them, millions of dollars floating around the country on a daily but the standard of living for the people paying taxes and contributing to the economy has decreased. Crime and violence is up. Over inflated national projects so that the players involved can hold the change for themselves, underfunded national departments (fire, nurses, teachers, police). Manufacturing and export of value added products At some point people, we have to ask ourselves a serious question. The new generations are lost and care not of their future, only what they can get for themselves now. In the end, we have only ourselves to blame for the state of Dominica, and Roosevelt do right take us for the ride he have us on. Blows we like, Blows we will get.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
  13. Nkrumah Kwame
    April 30, 2021

    Ian, thanks so much for your novel definition of “prudence”. Do whatever you want brother, the masses have given you the green light!😡🤔🙄

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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