The Ministry of Health & Social Development and the Ministry of Education have been allocated the largest percentages in the 2019 transitional budget.
The budget is more than $400 million; a figure believed to be the territory’s largest ever. It was presented during the Second Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Tuesday.
“The bulk of expenditure will be on education and health – two of the most crucial areas in guaranteeing the empowerment of our people,” Premier and Minister of Finance, Andrew Fahie, said in his budget address.
The following is a breakdown of the amounts that each ministry was allocated.
Premier Andrew Fahie said the Ministry of Health & Social Development was allotted 20.9 percent of the budget.
Part of that funding will go towards capital initiatives such as the ongoing work at the Nurse Iris O’Neal Clinic on Virgin Gorda, updating the territory’s health information system, and obtaining accreditation for the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital (formerly Peebles Hospital).
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries & Agriculture, received 16.7 percent or $12,962,500.
Among projects expected to be undertaken are restoration of the state-owned Elmore Stoutt High School, as well as local basketball courts and restoring the Virgin Gorda-based Bregado Flax Secondary School.
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour & Immigration was allocated $3,230,275 or 4.4 per cent of the development budget.
“This will assist with the continued restoration of our national park structures such as the J.R. O’Neal Botanical Gardens, as well as undertake rehabilitation works at the visitors’ centres throughout the territory,” Premier Fahie said.
He said funding was also set aside to remove and dispose of derelicts ahead of the upcoming hurricane season.
Constitutionally-established departments have been allocated 2.7 percent of the budget. The Governor’s Group is being given 11.5 percent, Premier’s Office is to receive 10 percent while the Ministry of Finance will be given 13.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) received $1,030,500 to supply and install CCTV and other related equipment.
“This is being funded from the $2,571,942 remaining balance of the $5,000,000 Cabinet allocated in 2018 to Her Majesty’s Customs, the Immigration Department and the RVIPF to strengthen their response capabilities,” Fahie said.
Additionally, to provide a safe working environment, the government allocated $1,566,000 to continue the rehabilitation work to police facilities throughout the territory.
“The majority of this work will be carried out by the Recovery and Development Agency, except for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Police Headquarters which commenced last year. This project is scheduled to be completed this year,” he further said.
The territory’s Financial Services Institute also received their share of a $400,000 subvention while medical tourism received $2,500,000.
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The 2019 budget for the British Virgin Islands has increased by nearly 30 percent compared to the last fiscal year.
Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew Fahie announced the massive budget of $426,112,972 in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, April 2.
That figure is approximately $126,586,806 more than last year.
More to come.
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