Western Assembly to talk $26m today

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Provincial assembly meeting at Imagination Island, Gizo
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BY BEN BILUA
Gizo

WESTERN Province’s Appropriation Ordinance – 2022 which is estimated to around $26,436,622 will go into Third Reading when Assembly meeting resumes today.

Members will spend time debating and discussing the estimate budget before going to vote.

In his speech during the second reading, Finance Minister of Western Province, Christian Burly Mesepitu said the 2021/2022 Financial Year budget has gone through all the required and respective participatory planning and budgetary committees and processes as per part-2 of the Financial Management Ordinance (FMO).

He adds that Ward Development Committee were also part of the planning and budgeting process.

Mesepitu said the formulation of the 2021/2022 budget estimates was tough given the strict the budget guidelines set by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening.

But, he said, his team managed to put together the estimate budget and at the same time satisfied the required guidelines.

Mesepitu said Western Province will appropriate a budget of $26,436,622 of which the Recurrent Revenue estimates is $20,61,857 and Capital Revenue estimate is $5,817,765.

He adds that Local Revenue for 2021-2022 is estimated using FY 2019 – 2020 actuals as baseline with only 10 percent allowable variances rate to forecast revenue as per the Budget Guideline.

Mesepitu said there has been a reduction worth $2,137,358,00 in Fixed Service Grant due to change in the formula (30 percent basic allocation and 70 percent performance based) for FSG distribution and major cuts on national government supports towards provincial governments.

He said major focus of the province’s Recurrent Expenditure will be on productive Sector mainly Agriculture and Fisheries so as Ward Development Committee capacity development and maximise local revenue collection.

In his opening speech, Premier David Gina said national government’s decision on budget cut has boycotted his province’s development aspirations.

“Similarly to other provincial government, Western Province too is set to have its fixed service grant and provincial capacity development fund (PCDF) slashed this year.

“For your information advise received from the Ministry of Provincial Government during the budgetary planning period articulated the need to forego our remaining SBD2.3 Million for 2020/2021 Financial Year.

“This is certainly has an impact on our capital budget implementation for this financial year capital budget allocation in order to cater for the cost of projects that were supposed to be funded with the foregone funds.

“In terms of the indicative FSG for the 2021/22 FY we have been allocated only around SBD7.5 million. Last year 2020/2021 FY we were allocated about SBD9.6 million so there is a reduction of almost SBD2 million.

“This is a result of the SBD 270,865.00 reduction in the aggregated fixed service grant allocations to all the provinces. As a provincial government, this is a huge reduction which will have an impact on our service delivery mandates.”

Gina stressed that it is sad that budget allocation for provinces have been diminishing year by year, worst still the establishment of policies that penalise and recall funds allocated to provinces.

But, he said, his government is optimistic to make sure service deliveries continues so as development aspirations and operation of the province is fully functioned this year.


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