BY BEN BILUA
WESTERN Provincial Government has been urged to be cautious with its expenditures when implementing the 2021/2022 budget.
Chair of Provincial Public Accounts Committee, Ramrakha Talasasa made the statement during WPG’s recent extra-ordinary meeting.
Talasasa said the issue of financial overruns and value underspent in respective heads is a concern that must be addressed.
He adds that the practice of spending more than budget allocations must also be addressed as such practice affects other subheads’ ability to implement their programs.
Talasasa said unnecessary virements should be cautioned as it is difficult to balance the budget though virements are the only means to support government services throughout the financial year.
He said raising of virement must follow due processes as stipulated by provincial regulations so that balancing of spending can be practical.
“We must not confine ourselves to revenues and expenses for progress but consider a wider scope whereby we can influence growth either through the reduction of certain rates, empower of the workforce and building investors’ confidence by having a reputable investment arm,” Talasasa said.
He said the government needs to have in place a fiscal policy to administer deficits, surplus and balance budget.
Talasasa stressed that such intervention can direct the province towards other aspects of its economy such as liquidity, unemployment rates and inflation rates to fuel economic growth that would trigger improvement in revenue collection.
“Revenue projection in 2019/2020 fell short by 5 million. For the year 2020/2021 revenue collection improved but was cancelled by huge overrun that could have been easily avoided should there be in place, serious consideration for compliance with relevant instructions,” he said.
Talasasa adds that the global health scar of COVID-19 is a high risk to public health and is bound to affect the country’s financial strength therefore Western Provincial government must be mindful and strategic of its expenditures.
“COVID-19 knows no devolved or non-devolved function as a barrier but the Western Provincial assembly has an obligation towards the health and safety of the people, he said.