The Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2017 approved by Parliament Monday night includes allocations for 83 new positions across the public service.
In presenting the Estimates, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ralph Gonsalves, told lawmakers that the positions have been created to enhance service delivery to citizens.
The Ministry of Health has been allocated 52 posts “to strengthen hospital and community services” as the modern medical complex in Georgetown and the polyclinics in Buccament and Marriaqua become operational this fiscal year, Gonsalves said.
Additional staff nurses are also provided to the Mental Health Centre rehabilitation services.
Seven posts have been created within the Ministry of Economic planning, “mainly to enhance the capacity of the Labour and Safety Inspectorate at the Labour Department in preparation for the implementation of the impending health and safety reforms,” the Prime Minister said.
The Ministry of Finance was allocated six posts aimed at strengthening the administrative capacity at the Inland Revenue Department.
The Aviation Services Programme, formerly Airports, in the Ministry of National Security, will receive eight new posts in the areas of metrological and aeronautical services to support the operations of the Argyle International Airport, which open on Feb. 14.
The prime minister said 50 jobs were removed from this service at Argyle International Airport (AIA) — the state-owned company that will manage the airport.
Gonsalves said the nation’s airports, except the one in Canouan, were under the management of the Director of Airport. The Canouan airport in managed by investors there.
With the new arrangement, there is now an AIA management company, which will be responsible for management of all airports, including security, but the director of airports will continue to address the technical, civil aviation functions.
The foreign service and research staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was augmented by five new positions to enhance the capacity of the department in the exercise of its function.
Gonsalves said the remaining positions are one executive officer at the Commercial and Intellectual Property Office, two school bus drivers in the Ministry of Transport and Works, one driver in the ministry of Housing, a coordinator for cultural industries for the Department of Culture. The coordinator will be hired as the government is looking at cultural industries an important area for job and wealth creation.
The government will also hire an investment and promotion officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be located in at the country’s Office of the Consul General in New York.
That person would work in concert with Invest SVG, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Economic planning, Gonsalves said.
Lawmakers have approved Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2017 of EC$976,943,437, a 7 per cent increase over the approved Budget for 2016.
The 2017 estimates is comprised of recurrent expenditure, inclusive of Amortisation and Sinking Fund contributions of EC$747,376,387 and capital expenditure of EC$229,567,050
The budget is financed by current revenue of EC$590,740,680 and capital receipt of EC$368,202,747.
The approval of the Estimates paves the way for the Budget Debate, which begins on Monday.