Second panadol budget
Government brings down second supplementary in just four months. Funds unknown
IT’S OFFICIAL. Uncontrolled spendings have forced the Government to bring down yet another supplementary budget – the second in just four months – later this month.
The Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Robson Djokovich, confirmed that officials are working on a supplementary budget for Cabinet’s approval before it is tabled in Parliament in late July.
“The Supplementary Appropriation Bill is not scheduled for Parliament until late July, details for which are yet to be finalised and approved by Cabinet,” Mr Djokovich said in an email in response to earlier queries.
On Monday afternoon Island Sun emailed Mr Djokovich the following.
“Understand the govt is bringing down a supplementary next week. How is the supplementary, being the second this year, is being financed? In other words, where will the money come from to finance this?
“And how much is it?”
In December/January, the Government brought down a $4.1 billion budget, in defiance of a realistic figure of $3 billion recommended by officials. Observers said the budget was full of rubbery figures, particularly on the revenue side, where collection had fallen by tens of millions of dollars, way below projection.
In April, just three months after Parliament had passed the main budget, the government brought down a supplementary budget – its first for this year.
A month earlier (March), it borrowed $150 million from the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund to help finance major projects such as the Undersea Cable.
Now just four months after the first supplementary, the government is going back to Parliament to ask its blessing on yet another supplementary – its second for this year.
Details of the new supplementary budget are being finalised, according to Mr Djokovich.
The government’s financial woes have prompted one observer to ask where all the billions had gone in the space of just six months.
“Have they spent it all? If so, where and what did the government spend the money on, given that many people including contractors are still waiting on the government to pay them?
One other observer said the latest supplementary shows the government has run out of steam in addressing the nation’s financial predicament.
“I think they should close down Parliament and go to the people for a fresh mandate. Because it is foolish to bring down a supplementary, knowing full well, no one knows where the funds for the budget would come from,” the observer said.