By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada, (CNG Business) – Following Saint Lucia’s red-print to the estimates of revenue and expenditure 2022/23 and the 2022/23 budget of $1.842B styled ‘the peoples budget’ – the “Forward to the estimates 2022-2023” and its contents, primarily in charts and numbers, affords the ability to examine with greater detail.
Prime minister Philip Pierre, stated previously, “the estimates of revenue and expenditure statement is the precursor to the budget address, which will facilitate the introduction of the Appropriation Bill to parliament on April 26, 2022.”
Then and now – as reciting by CNG Business – “the numbers to look for include debt to GDP, the annual rate of inflation, cost of servicing the national debt, the current debt load and deficit, priority to expenditure, revenue forecast, grants, external contributions and new tax receipts, if any, to offset spending restraint.”
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The structure to the estimates 2022-2023, says:
“The 2022-23 estimates of revenue and expenditure lays out the annual spending plans, projected revenue collections and programme performance information of all government departments.
“The budget estimates is structured by organizational segments namely, department, division, cost centre, programme and sub-programme. These segments are reflected in the schedules for revenue (recurrent and capital), operating, non-project capital and project expenditure.”
Notable change in the classification
It is significant to examine, “a notable change in the classification is the treatment of principal repayments as capital expenditure, which is in keeping with the new chart of accounts,” the “Forward” added. “The estimates complies with the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act Number 14 of 2020, which is the authority governing the preparation and the submission of the annual estimates of revenue and expenditure for approval by parliament.”
The “Forward” states that “the budget estimates as presented facilitates better understanding and allows all stakeholders access to data on the plans and programmes being executed by the government over the medium term. Additionally, in adherence to the Public Expenditure & Financial Accountability Framework (PEFA), and the PFM Act Number 14 of 2020, this document will be made available to the general public on the ministry of finance website, which is in congruence with greater transparency and Open Data requirement.”
The increased cost of doing business
Consistent with prime minister and minister for finance, economic development, and the youth economy, Philip Pierre, on March 29, presentation, “the COVID-19 pandemic’s persistence and the Russia/Ukraine war present considerable downside risks, which warrant innovative and transformative policy interventions.” The “Forward to the estimates 2022/23” continued: “ The persistence of COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia Ukraine war are likely to pose downside risks particularly as it relates to increased cost of doing business emanating from external pressures such as global inflation, rising oil prices and transportation costs.”
Notwithstanding these challenges, expenditure priorities for the 2022/23 budget will focus primarily on economic recovery and sustainable growth through initiatives geared towards youth enterprise, medium and small businesses and building economic resilience, addressing the needs of the poor and vulnerable in the society, citizen security and good governance, reads the forward, to the estimates.
Following the July 2021 general elections, a number of government departments, division and cost-centres were realigned to give effect to the required government policy shifts and to accommodate the necessary changes in the programmes of these departments.
“No new department was created, however, some functions were transferred between departments. This also resulted in renaming of some departments to better capture their new responsibilities,” accompanies some of these changes outlined below:
- Regional integration and Diaspora Affairs Division were transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister, Civil Aviation Cost-Centre transferred from the Department of Economic Affairs and International Trade Division transferred from the Department of Commerce to the newly reconfigured Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs.
- Gender Relations Division was transferred from the Department of Education Innovation and Gender Relations to the Department now known as the Department of Public Service and Gender Affairs.
- The Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations was newly reconfigured to the Department of Education.
- Cooperative Division was transferred from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Cooperative to the Department of Commerce. The Department of Agriculture was reconfigured to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development.
- The Department formally known as the Department of Commerce, International Trade, investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs was reconfigured to the Ministry now known as The Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs.
- Investment Coordination Division transferred to the Department of Tourism. The Department formally known as the Department of Tourism, Broadcasting & Information, Culture and Creative Industries was reconfigured to the Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative industries, Culture and Information.
- Transport Division transferred to the Department of Infrastructure. The Department formally known as the Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy was reconfigured to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ports and Transport.
- Civil Aviation Cost-Centre and Transport Division were transferred from the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation. A new division of Youth Economy now forms part of the newly reconfigured Department of Economic Development and Youth Economy.
- Elderly Care Programme and Local Government Division were transferred from the Department of Equity to the Department of Health and Department of Housing respectively. The Department formally known as the Department of Equity, Social Justice, Local government and Empowerment was reconfigured to the Ministry now known as the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment.
- The Department formally known as the Department of Housing, Urban Renewal and Telecommunications was newly reconfigured to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. iii Estimates 2022 – 2023
- The Department of Health and Wellness was newly reconfigured to the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.
According to the “Forward for 2022-2023 estimates”:
“The office of the budget continues to review its systems and processes by undergoing several reforms in collaboration with the accountant general department and the government information technology services unit,” adding “Key among these improvements includes but not limited to the introduction and improvement of the CPM (Corporate Performance Management): budget module the digitization of work processes, rollout of the projects module which are expected to bring about greater efficiency and effectiveness in the area of reporting on the execution of the budget.”