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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 7 - Monday July 16, 2007
Government's 2007/08 budget and the missing link

The Dominica Freedom Party has noticed some inconsistencies in Budget presentations of this Labour Party Administration. Ever since the presentation of the 2006/2007 Budget we made a commitment to alert the public and with the Government Budget for fiscal year 2007/2008 just round the corner, we have decided to present this article to the public, in order to compare any similar trends that may surface in this year�s Budget.

The Constitution Order 1978 of the Commonwealth of Dominica at Section 78, makes it mandatory for the Minister with responsibility for finance to prepare and lay before the House at the commencement of each financial year estimates of revenue and expenditure of Dominica for that financial year for the approval of the House.

What the Minister of Finance has to present to Parliament at the beginning of each financial year are estimates of revenue and expenditure. The Ministers of Finance in the past in presenting the estimates have made use of a Budget speech in which he/she outlines the achievements of Government during the past financial year, the state of the economy, relationship with the regional and international institutions, projections for the new financial year and the future and how the estimates presented for the approval of parliament will assist the country in its way forward.

There are sometimes problems when one tries to relate the budget speech with the estimates of revenue and expenditure presented for the approval of parliament. It is difficult to tell whether the Minister in his budget speech is telling the people what he thinks they want to hear, or is reflecting the facts as contained in the estimates.

When our Constitution states that all revenue or other monies raised or received by the Government of Dominica shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund, does the Minister of Finance understand the legal implications of doing otherwise?.

One has to wonder what is happening in Dominica. How many Consolidated Funds exist? Is there a Consolidated Fund, which is audited by the Auditor General, and a separate Private Consolidated Fund for the use of government ministers and government party supporters?

The Minister of Finance in his budget speech for the year 2006 at page 5 reported on the 2005/2006 year in review and noted Revenues of $274.2 million as against Expenditure inclusive of debt amortization of $285.6 million, resulting in an overall deficit of $11.4 million.

Yet the Minister of Finance at page 3 and 4 of his budget speech informed the nation and the world that Government was able to reduce arrears of Governments outstanding debt as follows:
i) Unpaid cheques were reduced by $18.9 million from $31.0 million in June 2005 to $12.1 million in June of 2006.
ii) Outstanding amounts owed to Dominica Social Security were reduced from $28.3 million June 2005 to $7.7 million in June 2006, a reduction of $20.6 million.
iii) At June 30th. 2006 all Government overdraft accounts at commercial banks were zero. The records will show that at June 2005 the overdraft accounts recorded amounts owed to banks at $39.6 million.

This is what our Minister of Finance reported to Parliament, the nation and the world.

The Dominican Freedom Party would like the Minister and the Director of Audit to tell the nation where did all the monies come from to clear the overdraft, reduce the amount owed to Dominica Social security, reduce arrears of unpaid cheques, when the projection for the financial year 2005/2006 indicated a deficit.

Something is definitely wrong or monies are being maintained in accounts other than the Consolidated Fund, which is against the constitution of Dominica. The people of Dominica need to know, in which account was the extra $79.1 million referred to recorded during fiscal year 2005/2006.

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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 98
Illegals Intercepted
Soufrier-Scottshead sea defenses
Illegals eye USVI
SMA celebrates &% years
The tale of SMA

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