Budget delayed again

| 18/05/2011

(CNS):Government will be delivering the 2011/12 budget statement on Monday, not Friday, according to a release from GIS. Last week officials revealed that the previous plan for government to deliver its spending plans and anticipated earnings for the next financial year on Tuesday 17 May had been changed, and the ceremonial opening of the Legislative Assembly’s budget meeting would instead happen on 20 May. However, in the latest release the government’s information service has said the opening will now happen on Monday 23 May. No official reasons have been given, but government departments are currently engaged in a battle to shave $20million off this year’s spending in order to deliver a budget surplus for the 2010/11 year end.

With the new financial year starting on 1 July, McKeeva Bush has ordered that the projected surplus that government was expecting in February becomes a reality, despite the most recent figures pointing to a deficit. The premier has stated publicly that he is not prepared to accept the $5 million gap between spending and earnings that the financial officers revealed last month and that he wanted to end the year with a $15 million surplus.

The premier has said that the $15 million would be split three ways, with $5 million being used to pay down some of the past service liability on public sector pensions, $5 million to pay into general reserves and $5 million to carry over into the next fiscal year, which under the terms of the local government’s agreement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office must not be in deficit.

With government stating that there will be no reductions on fees introduced over the last two budgets, but no indication thatthere will be any new ones, all eyes will be on the reduction of spending. The internal civil service spending review has been completed on a dozen entities and a review of a further six is expected to be completed next month, which gives the government the option of making specific and targeted cuts. So far the Portfolio of the Civil Service has revealed cost cutting options amounting to $17 million across the first four agencies assessed. What cuts have been identified in the eight reviewed under the second phase have not yet been revealed.

However, one of government’s major stumbling blocks when it comes to making real savings on public spending is a lack of audited government accounts. Government has not completed an audit of how tax-payers money has been spent for seven years. Moreover, where annual reports have been completed, the significant lack of information makes the results meaningless. With no up to date accurate financial statements, it is difficult for government to assess whether budget allocations to specific departments are offering value for money, are excessive, or are underfunded.

Although the UDP made a commitment to sort out the problems associated with the inability of government entities to comply with the Public Management and Finance Law, early efforts have now waned. Despite millions of dollars being invested in a task force and the efforts of the former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, although some entities have managed to catch up with the backlog, the current financials are still being neglected.

The ceremonial opening of parliament will take place at the Legislative Assembly building in George Town at 9:35 on Monday morning. Members of the public wishing to attend are asked to be seated by 9am.

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Category: Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. GT voter says:

    Damm Bo-Bo, what ya waiting for? For Elio aka "Mercides Benz" to kick in the door?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of budget deficits, did anyone else see the approximately 21% increase on CUC's fuel charge? We're only being charged about 10.3 cents/kWh for the electricity, but tack on another 22.78 cents/kWh for fuel charges (up from about 19 cents/kWh). That's an extra $40 for every 1000 kWh each month! Why is nobody pressing for renewables?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh people are pressing alright, but no one is listening………

      Corporate profits must come first.

    • Real World says:

      This kind of abuse is what you get with a monopoly and powerful political lobby. The only way the people can deal with this is to come together en mass and refuse to pay the extra; take 21% off the fuel charge off the bill and pay the balance.  If thousands of people did this CUC would be forced to reconsider, otherwsie what?  Take thousands of customers to court for non-payment of the bill?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mac: Hi Kids! Wanna see me do a magic trick?

    Cayman: Uh…sure.

    Mac: Its a riddle!

    Cayman: we dont care. Shouldn't you be at the LA doing the country's business?

    Mac: Yeah, No…Here's the riddle: how do you get a surplus and NOT increase revenue measures, cut operational costs or control expenditures?

    Cayman: You can't. Stupid Question. Are you mad?

    Mac: Well, look, cuz I did it!

    Cayman: Dude, this is in crayon…[faints]  

  4. Anonymous says:

    It aint the MAC that casuing this delay, its the thousands of useless civil servants that are employed under him. Privatise the whole thing and be done with it. We have enough civil servants to run a country ten times our size but still useless. 

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      The frustrating thing about this, is that all Cayman needs is leadership that will lead for the people and not lead for themselves. For years the people have been snow balled in an 85 degree climate that Bush and his followers are the "best" for the country. Well they are not and Cayman needs change or the middle and lower class will continue to pay for millions of dollars of wasted foolish Government spending.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is Mac Who's responsible for getting the thousands of useless civil servants off their backsides, rather than forever flying off to Timbuctoo.

    • Anonymous says:

       The civil service has been downsized.  The civil service has been forced to take a pay cut.  The civil service has been forbidden from spending and is forbidden from doing so for another couple of months.

      So then, how exactly is the civil service responsible for the delay by the Minister of Finance in presenting a budget?

       

       

      • Joe says:

        Two words about that: meaningless results.  Still lots of money to pay for just a tiny bit of actual work done.  Might as well call it Civil unemployables.

      • Anonymous says:

        In defence of the first poster if the civil servants underneath the Minister of Finance cannot supply timley information on their spending etc which we all know to be the case then exactly how can he present an accurate budget. Although I don't agree that all civil servants are useless I know for a fact that from friends who work there and who are willing to admit it, that a lot of them do bugger all. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    I dont know why but this article reminded me of a story my late father told me many years ago.

    There was this poor farmer who scrimped and saved to send his only son (whose name was also Mac) to college. The son wanted to study arithmetic.

    After the first semester the son returned home feeling very proud of himself. Unfortunately the poor farmer was totally broke and only had twosmall meals for him and his sickly wife. So Mac feeling smarter than ever with his newly learned arithmetic skills offered his father  a clever solution "Dad. You see these two meals – I bet I make them three."

    The poor farmer thought for a moment then replied "Good. I will take this one and your mom will take that one and we will leave the third for you"

     

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    We could save lots of money if McKeeva and his croonies and his family would stay home, stop spending our money running up and down all over the world like chickens with their heads chopped off.  They are all such an embarrassment to our Islands.

  7. 3RD CLASS CITIZEN says:

    Uneducated Dumb People will delay but the truth will hit right between their eyes. Make no mistake the only people that are not sick of these misfits are the ones that are profiting from their shenanigans of selling our country out for two cents on the dollar. They can run but they can’t hide one man one vote now and for ever. 

  8. B. B. L. Brown says:

    Quote:

    "With no up to date accurate financial statements, it is difficult for government to assess whether budget allocations to specific departments are offering value for money, are excessive, or are underfunded."

    True.  It's also difficult for the people to assess.  And what about waste?  Unaccounted funds?  Could there be some (Heaven forbid!!) hanky-panky?  Let's have an honest audit and see where our money is going!

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Although the UDP made a commitment to sort out the problems associated with the inability of government entities to comply with the Public Management and Finance Law, early efforts have now waned."

    …made a commitment… ?????? If they were committed they would have shown up for the Public Accounts Committee meetings and made something happen.

    …early efforts… ?????? Bah, Humbug! Pure hypocrisy!!!!!!!!

    • Time will tell! says:

      At least when PPM were the Government there was never suspicions of corruption and controversy every week like there is now under the UDP. XXXX

      The only controversy under the PPM was the amount of money being spent on the schools and it the schools were allowed to be finished, future generations would not have had to worry about building schools for many, many years as these were state of the art which would have served many school children for decades to come.

      The children of Cayman is our future and the more that is spent on educating our youths, the better, instead of wasting millions on unnecessary travel, hurricane shelters etc. but in my opinion this Government does not consider our youths as long as they themselves are well taken care of.

      Time for UDP to step down in the interest of Caymans future, FOR REAL!!!!!!!!!!

      • Eugene says:

        You are so very correct. And it is so very ironic that perhaps the PPM's single biggest achievement was used by the uneducated among us to completely castrate them. What goes around comes around, folks. God don't like ugly…and we are seeing copious amounts of BLATANT ugly…for those of us that will see… 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Heard in the backroom deliberations on the Budget

    "How 'bout we only pay the minimum amount on the travel credit card bill. That will save 18.9 million alone." 

    "Fool, I can't do dat. Dat card already maxxed out and plenty places left to go."

    "How bout we pass a law that says that goverment bills only come due on Leap Year Day and only when Leap Year Day falls on a Tuesday with a full moon?"

    "Now your thinking"

    • Eugene says:

      Brilliant. No offence but are you a fly on the wall? What I heard was that it had to be high tide too.

  11. Anonymous says:

    ever wonder why the national symboly of cayman is a turtle??????

  12. Anonymous says:

    the incompetence of cig never ends…..

  13. Anonymous says:

    $5 will get u $20 that it will be delayed yet again! They should start a raffle based on when it will actually happen, could raise the extra $20million that way.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone surprised in this delay?  If the Premier and his MLAs were not wasting time sitting in courtrooms, intimidatieng jurys, and instead were spending their time working on the budget the Friday date might have been met.

  15. Non-partisan says:

    Alden is the kind to say that it is impossible for the Premier/UDP team to from a 5 million deficit, get a surplus that will reach 15 million before fall. That is the kind of attitude he has in regards to our finances. I guess he also thought that way when we reached a low of an 81 million deficit whilst he/PPM cronies were in office on their "spending shopping spree." What a mess they got us into… and UDP seems to not be doing any better to get us out. But for God sake, at least hope for the best and stop this partisan divide!

    • LOL says:

      lol… "partisan divide"… you kill me!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are all so blind.  The PPM inherited a huge mess from previous govts. of which our Premier was  LOGB.  They at least tried to clean up the mess. What have you seen this govt. do to help anyone but themselves?  EVERYTHING is in a mess and its people accepting bribes for their votes that got us in this mess.  People need to think about what is best for the country long term.  Accepting bribes for votes is harming everyone in the long run – even you and your children.  

  16. Accumulated Deficit says:

    Sounds like we are in for a bit of creative accounting. Take note the Auditor General.

  17. Hmmm... says:

    " So far the portfolio of the civil service has revealed cost cutting options amounting to $17milllion across the first four agencies is assed. "

    Perhaps some of the "other" agencies are a bit too "stubborn *ssed" to cut thier costs and co-operate? (cute spelling mistake CNS – hehehe)

    CNS: Oops! Now corrected.

  18. Real World says:

    The Government's "battle to shave $20 million off this year's spending" will be sham accounting — cooking the books.  I wonder which vendors will suffer at the hands of an administration that will simply freeze their accounts payable until after 1 July just so the Premier can save face over previous babbblings of a budget surplus.  The truth is, due to the absence of adequate accounts (i.e., the UDP's blatent breach of the public management and finance law), the government (and the electorate) has absolutely no idea of the true position of the country's finances. 

    Banana anyone? 

  19. Anonymous says:

    more delays and no excuses (except for the obvious incompetence)…..zzzzz

    cns: what about the delays on the schools and cctv…and everything else?