PHILIPSBURG–Finance Minister Richard Gibson said Wednesday, he and his Ministry are “extremely busy” with the preparations for the draft 2017 budget. The Minister said all is being done to ensure the budget is presented by all legal deadlines.
The balancing of the budget will come down to “making wise decisions,” Gibson said in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing. The known factors for the budget are not as trying as anticipated for the variables, he said.
The current budget should get a boost when the amended legislation for the collection of outstanding fees from the casinos comes into effect. The law is with the Ombudsman for review until August 12. If the Ombudsman does not challenge the amendment, Gibson hopes the Receiver’s Office can begin collection from casinos as early as August 13.
Meanwhile, the country has “quite a lot of money to spend before the end of the year.” Some NAf. 33.9 million of the 77 million for capital expenditures upon the delivery of a balanced 2016 budget is “in the bank.” However, Government did not yet allocate the monies to capital projects.
The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has called on Government to submit its plans and programmes for which the money will be used before a final go-ahead can be given. Gibson said CFT believes the release of the remaining 44 million is “premature” without a plan for the already available amount.
Source: Daily Herald
Gibson ‘extremely busy’ with draft 2017 budget