The government expects to see a $2 million drop in its rental expenses once the Ralph T O’Neal Administration Complex reopens.
This is according to Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, who told lawmakers that the government currently spends more than $10 million to accommodate public servants at various offices.
“It is difficult to forecast the rent decrease as lease payments are fluid and the decision on which offices will be returning to the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex has not yet been finalised,” Premier Wheatley told lawmakers recently.
He added: “However, based on the ongoing decisions regarding the ministries and departments that are returning to the Ralph T. O’Neil Administration Complex, it is estimated that the decrease might be in the range of $2 million.”
Repairs on the hurricane-damaged government complex began in late 2019 with the removal of debris and work on various sections of the roof. Recent works have included the installation of a new elevator at the complex. In 2018, the Central Statistics Office estimated the government’s annual rent expenditure to be approximately $6.4 million; a figure that has also been shared in the Commission of Inquiry (COI) report.
With the extensive damage done to the complex, many government offices have been forced to relocate to rented spaces owned by private contractors. Premier Wheatley previously complained that the ongoing repairs have taken too long, promising to meet with Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer and representatives from the Finance Ministry to accelerate the project.
“We have to think about building more space so we could save money on rent and invest that money back into the people. That is something that we have to do,” he argued at the time.
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