BVI News

Deadline to pass budget 2 weeks away and still no debate, SFC deliberations

Only two weeks remain until the deadline for government to pass the territory’s 2019 budget. However, the deliberations for the all-important Standing Finance Committee (SFC) have still not started.

The annual budget process comprises three main stages — the budget address (which Premier Andrew Fahie delivered last week), the SFC deliberations, and the budget debate.

The mandate of the SFC — which is comprised of all members of the House of Assembly — is to examine the 2019 budget estimates. This process involves the Committee meeting with all government department heads who then report on the status of those departments. This typically happens over several days.

While responding to questions from BVI News, Acting Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said it will be days before the SFC starts its deliberations.

“A few persons travelled so we are going to continue with Standing Finance next week,” the acting Premier said.

One of those persons travelling is Premier Fahie, who is attending the Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 Conference in Miami from April 8 to 11.

Fahie, who is also Minister of Finance, has with him a delegation comprising other FSC members such as Minister for Transportation & Works Kye Rymer, as well as Junior Minister for Tourism, Shereen Flax-Charles.

Budget will be passed on time

Notwithstanding what is perceived to be a delay in this year’s budget process, Dr Wheatley has assured that “everything is on schedule”.

“We have a plan in place to make sure we get to the Standing Finance and then we have the budget debate to pass the budget by April 30,” he told BVI News.

“The budget estimates are fixed already,” Dr Wheatley further explained. “It’s simply a matter of persons making cases for changes. We don’t expect any major changes.”

Government is currently operating on what is colloquially termed as a ‘temporary budget‘. This temporary budget came into effect at the end of December 2018 when the House of Assembly agreed to dip into to the territory’s Consolidated Fund to withdraw $138.9 million so government could continue to operate after the start of this 2019 financial year (as it prepares the new budget).

The House agreed at the time that the temporary budget can only run for four months and will expire on April 30.

During his budget address last week, Premier Fahie announce a budget of $426,112,972. This represents an increase of roughly 30 percent compared to the last fiscal year.

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3 Comments

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  1. Zone says:

    Why worry it will pass

  2. Good to go says:

    The Premier and is entourage is at Seatrade in MIA having fun.

    Like 8
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