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Expect more of same from budget (with CNC3 video)
As the population counts down the hours to Monday’s presentation of the eagerly anticipated 2013 budget, one of the issues of endless speculation is what ministries will get the largest allocations and whether the amount of money alloted to subsidies and transfers will be cut. The actual budget allocations will remain a secret to the national population until almost the end of Monday’s presentation of the 2013 budget.
But national budgets have a tendency to repeat the patterns of previous years, which means that the 2013 budget is likely to look a great deal like 2012’s. If that is the case, the population should expect that the ministry receiving the largest allocation will be...not the Ministry of Health or National Security, but the Ministry of Finance. In the 2012, the Ministry of Finance received an allocation of 9.4 billion dollars, which was 16.5 per cent of the total estimated budget of 57 billion dollars.
The document “Draft Estimates of Expenditure for the 2012 financial year” also reveals that the second largest allocation did not actually go to a ministry but to a category of expenditure headed “Charges on account of the public debt”. This allocation of 6.6 billion dollars, which was equal to 11.6 per cent of the 57 billion allocated, was mainly used to pay the interest on local and foreign debt…It’s estimated that a total of 8 billion was spent on debt servicing in the current year.
The third largest allocation in 2012 went to education, which received a total of 6.5 billion with the Ministry of Education receiving 4 billion and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education getting 2.5 billion. Internal and external security received a total of $5.1 billion, with the Ministry of National Security receiving 3.5 billion and the police service getting an allocation of 1.6 billion dollars.
Looked at another way, the category of transfers and subsidies—which includes everything from the fuel subsidies to the grants handed out by the Ministry of the People—received a total of 29.5 billion for 2012. That means that for every dollar spent by the Government, 51 cents went to C-DAP, G.A.T.E, the fuel subsidy, subsidised houses, free education and the many, many public assistance programmes paid for by the Government. Half of the money spent by the Government goes right back to the people.
If cuts are to be made to the national budget in the 2013 budget, it is likely to come from this area of transfers and subsidies. In contrast, public servants received a total of 8 billion dollars or 14 per cent of the total budget.
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