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DCGA to table a $4 billion ‘superficial’ budget

By EDDIE OSIFELO

THE Democratic Coalition for Government Advancement is going to table a $4 billion ‘superficial’ budget in this sitting of Parliament.

The 2021 estimate of the budget is not based on 2020 actuals but on 2019’s.

A professional accountant, who wished not to be name, said there is a big flaw in the estimate of the budget.

“Why is the government using the 2019 actuals?

“This 2019 actuals is already stalled or no longer relevant,” accountant said.

The accountant said the government should not have any problem to generate the 2020 actual especially in this computerised world where payments at Ministry of Finance and Treasury is done digitally.

The accountant believes there are two possible reasons for the government to use the 2019 actuals:

  1. The 2020 actuals are still not finalised or summarised; and
  2. The expenses from last year have not been legalised.

Island Sun understands the Government tabled two Supplementary bills.

The government could not table the 2021 Appropriation Bill 2021 last December because of the covid-19.

As such, the accountant believes the government is likely to bring Supplementary Appropriation Bills in this financial year to cover the 2020 actuals.

In the meantime, Solomon Star investigation found a huge ‘mismatch’ in the budget that appears to exist between the Budget estimates and the Government’s Redirection Policy.

At the same time, Solomon Star claimed what has been suspected all along that figures presented in the budget were rubbery and “misleading”.

The revelation comes at a time when one major donor has reportedly distanced itself from claims that it (the donor) is supporting the government’s development funding.

“Nothing in the Redirection Policy is reflected in the allocations in the estimates in terms of funding the cost of the Redirection Policy. It is a huge mismatch between reality and assumptions,” those in the corridors of power told Solomon Star.

“The government is saying one thing but in reality is doing completely the opposite,” they said.

For example, the DCGA government recently introduced a comprehensive review officially known as the Redirection Policy which is intended to focus on the growth sector of the economy.

“But when you look at the Budget and the Redirection Policy, they have nothing in common. In other words, there is nothing in the Budget estimates to reflect the cost of the Redirection policy. There is a huge mismatch,” they said.

Solomon Star has obtained a Draft Copy of the 96-page Redirection Policy, which outlined key priorities in the different sectors, which the government has identified in its Redirection Policy.

It has divided key priorities into four (4) main sectors – the Fundamental, Social, Resources, and the Productive Sectors.

According to the Draft Redirection Policy, five Ministries have been identified for the Fundamental Reform Sector. They are the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination, Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, and the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In the growth sector, it envisages increased investment in Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, and Tourism.

“The Rollout of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) in supporting the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism is a manifestation of our drive to support (the) growth sector,” the Draft Redirection Policy said.

The government spent $306 million on the ESP, according to leaked Budget Summary papers, which Solomon Star has obtained.

According to the papers, the government expected a $12 million return this year on the ESP payout, a forecast described as “impossible” by economists.

“Even if you invest the entire ESP money buying stocks, it is impossible to get a $12 million return in just 12 months,” they said.


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