The dates have been set. The 2013/2014 Budget Presentation and Debate is around the corner. Ahead of the House of Parliament sittings, the deputy director in the Office of the Budget gave an insight into the process.
Government’s budget process is meticulous, explained Claudius Emmanuel, deputy director of the Office of the Budget. The key components to government’s budget are recurrent expenditure, capital expenditure and revenue.
Recurrent expenditure comprises the cost of continuing expenses such as wages and rental whereas capital expenditure is used to execute projects such as road rehabilitation and infrastructural ventures.
The total costs of these projects are then weighed against government’s revenue, 95 percent of which is derived from taxes. To be able to offset the total revenue needed to cover the cost of the expenditure, government has to supplement its income with grants, loans and bonds.
“And so coming out of that we would identify the imperatives given the economic situation and what we need to do as a country to remain fiscally prudent. We would present that in a short paper for approval of Cabinet. We need the sanction of Cabinet in terms of what is available, what can be done. Of course, out of that as well, we would have Cabinet indicating its strategic priorities in terms of where the government, as the executive, want to see the country or the economy going in terms of its interventions,” Emmanuel explained.
Government faces a number of challenges when preparing the nation’s budget. Emmanuel said this is directly as a result of the huge responsibility placed on government’s shoulders.
“Government is charged with the responsibility of doing a lot of things. And in our system, it is through the budget that government is able to get involved. So what the budget really calls for is for government, through its technicians, to be very skilful and creative in crafting the budget that will tackle a number of the problems that government seeks to address,” she added.
The Throne speech, which signals what is commonly known as the Budget Presentation, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23.
Meanwhile, debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2013/2014 will take place on Thursday, April 25 and continues on Friday, April 26.