The Estimates of Income and Expenditure for 2019 will be debated in parliament on Jan. 23, 2019, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says.
Gonsalves told the 23rd National Convention of his Unity Labour Party in Campden Park on Sunday that lawmakers will debate the Budget on Jan. 29, 2019.
Last January, Parliament approved
It was the first fiscal package prepared and presented by Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, after taking over from the prime minister as finance minister in November 2017 and the nation’s first surplus budget in years.
He became the second person to hold the post since the ULP came to office in March 2001.
At a press conference in October, the finance minister was asked to reflect on his first year in the post.
“The surprise that I have — if I can use that word — is something I hinted at the beginning in my budget speech — is the issue of implementation.”
He said the prime minister has raised a lot of money for a
“And they are taking too long to get rolling. They are taking too long to implement,” he said, adding that he has spent a lot of the last few months trying to figure out the cause and possible solutions to the situation.
“And there are a multiplicity of challenges,” he said, adding that some of them are on the side of the funding agencies, including the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union,” the finance minister said.
“Some of them are internal capacity constraints that we have that I have been working hard to reconfigure — either in the Ministry of Planning or in the Ministry of Works or the Office of the Chief Engineer.
“And we have to reconfigure the way those offices are set up because they were set up at a time when we didn’t have 50 projects totalling $400million to push through and I expect that if there is anything I can tip my hat and say, I expect you would see some different configurations in those offices geared toward better implementation.”
Gonsalves said another constraint is contractors, explaining that many contractors are paid by a funding agency, via the government.
Sometimes contractors overextend by bidding for several contracts only to end up getting all and then
He further said a
“That’s five different contracts that this contractor has signed, but, in his mind, they are all government.”
He said that contractors tend to “lay down arms on all projects because he is owed on one or two other projects…
“And we have to be clear that these things can’t go forward like that. That if you are going to be professional, you have to
“That’s a conversation we have to have with the contractors and with the Tenders Board and with the various funding agencies that fund a lot of our projects.
“Because, sometimes, they, too, overburden contractors and create unrealistic expectations. So one of the big lessons is really that things have taken longer than I anticipate they would take and that their correctives are more complex than first seen on first blush. But I think we are working to resolve some of those issues,” the finance minister said.