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State saves $10 billion ministries, state enterprises cut back
Sunday, May 7, 2017

Belt-tightening has helped the State spend $10 billion less than expected in 2016, the Auditor’s General report for the fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2016, has shown.

In addition to that, this is also the first time in five years that the country has received more revenue than it has spent, the report states.

According to the report laid in the Parliament on Friday entitled “Public Accounts of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for the Financial Year 2016” the total approved expenditure for the year was $66.967 billion.

However, the actual expenditure for the period was $56.57 billion.

This represented a difference of $10.39 billion less than the approved amount.

According to the Treasury’s documents, the actual revenue for the country for the year was $60.31 billion.

Of the $60.31 billion, $28.99 billion (48 per cent of the total) came from tax revenue and some $11.40 billion, or 19 per cent came from non-tax revenue. The Government collected $3.81 billion, or 6.32 per cent, in capital revenue and borrowed $13.60 billion and it borrowed or received as extraordinary receipts $16.1 billion (26.7 per cent). The extraordinary receipts refer to the Government’s drawdown from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) of $2.49 billion.

As $40.39 billion of the Government’s total revenue for 2016 came from tax revenues, the Government accessed $16.18 billion from the sale of assets, dividends and from the HSF.

Because the State’s total revenue for 2016 was $60.31 billion, that it only spent $56.57 billion represented a surplus of $3.74 billion.

It is the first time the country has experienced a surplus in five years, the document stated.

While the revenue of $60.313 billion is the lowest the country has experienced in the last three years, the country’s actual expenditure of $56.574 billion was the lowest in this country for the last four years.

Of the 78 heads of expenditure listed, none spent more than their approved estimates for the year.

The Ministry of Finance led from the front by recording the greatest variance between their total approved estimates for the year and their actual expenditure for the period.

The Finance Ministry’s total approved estimates for the financial year was $7.4 billion.

The Ministry of Finance actually spent $2.35 billion less than that approved figure.

Their actual expenditure was $5 billion.

The first Head of Expenditure detailed in the report was the Office of the President.

Official entertainment for the Office of the President for the year was just under $800,000 less than what was approved.

The Office of the President was approved $1.85 million for official entertainment for the year but only $1.05 million was actually spent.

The explanation for the difference was that “expenditure incurred for functions was less than anticipated”.

The overseas travel approved for the Office of the President for the year was $1.7 million.

Only $1.2 million was spent.

The explanation provided for the $482, 000 difference is that “cost associated with travelling was less than anticipated”.

The Office of the Prime Minister spent $175 million less than it was approved.

The total approved for the Office of the Prime Minister was $390 million.

The actual amount spend by the Office of the Prime Minister was $215 million.

The Office of the Prime Minister was approved $1 million for electricity but only managed to spend $$295,000.

This means the Office of the Prime Minister spent $704,000 less for electricity than expected.

The explanation provided for the difference is that “expenditure was less than projected”.

The Ministry of National Security was approved $6.52 billion, but the actual amount that was spent by the National Security Ministry was $5.08 billion. The difference $1.43 billion was the second biggest variance recorded.

During his address to the nation in December 2015 against the backdrop of low energy prices and a dismal fiscal projection, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley called for all ministries and State agencies to cut expenditure by seven per cent.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert is expected to have a mid-year budget review on Wednesday.


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