Solomon Islands Government Introduces $511 Million Budget

Finance Minister calls proposal 'balanced, credible and responsible'

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 6, 2016) – Minister of Finance and Treasury, Snyder Rini has described the $4.1 billion [US$511 milliion] for 2017 budget as balanced, credible and responsible.

Mr Rini told Parliament yesterday the budget is fully funded through a combination of domestic revenue, external budget support and cash reserves that successive Governments have built up over recent years.

He said this will place the 2017 Budget in a fiscally sound position.

Furthermore, Mr Rini said in 2017 total revenue is expected to be $3,909.2million [US$487 million].

He said total domestically sourced revenue is expected to be $3,555.3 million [US$443 million], an increase of $577.3million [US$78 million] (or 19.6 per cent) over the 2016 Revised.

The domestic revenue is expected to be sourced from the following:

  • Inland Revenue  -  $1,990 million [US$248 million]
  • Customs  -  $997.5 million [US$124 million] 
  •  Other Ministries  -  $567.8 million [US$71 milion]

In addition, Mr Rini said Government also expects an estimated donor support of $283 million [US$35 million], including $80 million [US$10 million] in general support from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

He said on the expenditure side, the Government is budgeting to spend $4,087.6 million [US$509 million].

“This is made up of $2,906.8 million [US$362 million] for recurrent expenditure and $1,180.8 million [US$147 million] for development expenditure.

“Of the recurrent expenditure of 2,906.8 million, $2,622.9 million [US$327 million] will be on recurrent operations of which Payroll will be $1,028.5 million [US$128 million], Other Charges $1,594.3 million [US$199 million] and donor budget support for recurrent operations $283.9 million [US$35 million].

“The Government also plans to spend $1,180.8 million [US$147 million] in major strategic investments, which comprises of $1,110.8 million [US$138 million] from domestic sources and $70.0 million [US$8.7 million] from donor development assistance, principally the Republic of China,” he said.

Mr Rini said 91 per cent of these recurrent and development budget expenditures are funded by domestic sources, while 9 per cent from the donor community.

He said to enable the Government to continue provide services and undertake productive infrastructure projects that are not provided for in the primary allocations, there are provisions in the Appropriation Bill which the Government may utilize.

Moreover, Mr Rini said 2017 Appropriation Bill 2016 has been finalised based on the estimates in the budget papers.

“In addition it provides for $85 million [US$10.6 million] for recurrent and for development contingency warrants for expenditures which are at this time unforeseen, and are not factored in the budget.

“It also set a borrowing limit of $900 million [US$112 million] and an advance warrant limit of $200 million [US$25 million],” he said.

Mr Rini reminded the House that use of Contingency Warrants are for unbudgeted or unforeseen expenditures.

“Such expenditures are for national emergencies and disasters, but also for ensuring we have fiscal buffers.

“Such funds, Sir, maintain the continued and unhindered implementation of services, whilst accommodating for sudden ‘one off’ or ‘off budget’ requirements.

“This is consistent with the purpose set out in the Constitution,” he added.

Mr Rini said there are several measures that the Government will be implementing in 2017 to strengthen the alignment of the government’s priorities to the allocation of their scarce resources through the budget to maintain its credibility.

He said unlike 2015 and 2016 Budgets, the level of Government cash reserves required to balance the 2017 Budget will be reduced significantly to $178.4 million [US$22 million].

“Whilst this demonstrates the Government’s commitment to refocus expenditure to key infrastructure and priority spending, it also shows Government’s intention to maintain and rebuild its cash reserves at a sustainable level,” he said.

Solomon Star
Copyright © 2016 Solomon Star. All Rights Reserved

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