THE Ministry of Finance and Treasury held a briefing session for the media on the Public Financial Management Reform Roadmap, where the purpose of the Mid-Year Budget Review was discussed in depth at an inaugural Media Workshop on the road map on Friday.
The Mid-Year Budget Review was released by the Minister for Finance and Treasury, Rick Hou to Parliament in early September to coincide with the consideration of the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
The deputy Accountant-General in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Merrylyn Kodoleke, said that she was delighted with the broad coverage of the document in the media and in parliament.
“The purpose of the Mid-Year Review is to provide an update to Parliament on expenditure against budget, which is an important way in which Government demonstrates its ongoing financial credibility,” Ms Kodoleke said.
She noted that the Mid-Year Review was considered by the Public Accounts Committee during the review of the recent supplementary budget and also that the media picked up key elements of the review.
“By increasing awareness of Government expenditure, we focus in on transparency.
“This is a critical way in which we can use good reporting and the interest of people to ensure our National Budget delivers for all,” Ms Kodoleke stated.
The Mid-Year Budget Review is a key new document to be released under the Public Financial Management Act 2013 and was also a requirement of the Public Financial Management Roadmap 2014-2016.
When the Review was provided to Parliament, Minister Hou pointed out that the implications on the economy and government finances caused by the April floods and the suspension of production at the Gold Ridge Mine had been significant.
Overall the Review highlighted the current budget position for 2014 is a forecast deficit of around $164 million.
However, Minister Hou said that he is confident that this will be fully financed by a mixture of careful management of payments and under spends in some expenditure items, additional funding from donor partners and drawing on reserves as required to fund 2014 commitments.
He also stated that while the first half of 2014 had been challenging, difficult and sobering, that it is somewhat reassuring that economic and revenue indicators since the mid-year budget review was prepared have shown the tentative emergence of what he hoped would be a slightly more positive trend.