Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2012/2013

STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR FINANCE, MR. ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, ON THE SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION BILL, 2012/2013

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, ROSEAU
23rd October 2013

Madam Speaker, the Supplementary Estimate totalling seventy-eight million, eight hundred and sixteen thousand, eight hundred thirty-four dollars and ninety-one cents ($78,816,834.91), which is being presented to this House today, is in respect of advances made from the Contingencies Fund for the period January to June 2013.

This presentation is in accordance with the provisions of Section 80 (1) of the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order 1978, as well as Section 12 of the Finance Administration Act, Act No. 4/94. These Statutes allow the Government the flexibility of incurring expenditure not originally approved in the annual budget, and subsequently seeking approval of the Parliament for such spending.

The sums were appropriated as follows:

• 52% or forty-one million, three hundred and thirty-three thousand, six hundred and seventeen dollars ($41,333,617) was financed from local resources;
• 39% or thirty million, four hundred sixty-four thousand, seven hundred and one dollars ($30,464,701) was paid from loan funds, and
• 9% or seven million, eighteen thousand, five hundred and seventeen dollars ($7,018,517) was grant funded.

Madam Speaker, I will now give details of the expenditure which was incurred for the above-stated period.

In respect to the Office of the President, two amounts were appropriated to meet contractual obligations in respect to the State House renovation and expansion project. The sum of two million, one hundred ninety-three thousand, two hundred and thirty-four dollars ($2,193,234) represented additional disbursement from the PRC loan, while the sum of two million, seven hundred four thousand, and seventy-three dollars ($2,704,073) represented government’s counterpart contribution to the said project.

Madam Speaker, the Ministry of National Security received a total allocation of four hundred eighty thousand and four dollars ($480,004). The sum of four hundred and fifty-eight thousand, eight hundred dollars ($458,800) was approved on behalf of the Fire and Ambulance Services department to meet the urgent need for three additional ambulances in order to improve on response to emergency medical services. The Ministry was also allocated the sum of twenty-one thousand, two hundred and four dollars ($21,204) which was provided by the UNDP to be used in mitigating the effects of natural disasters in Dominica.

Madam Speaker, the sum of three hundred and two thousand, six hundred and sixteen dollars ($302,616) was allocated to the Electoral Office for purchase of Identity Cards as part of the Multi-Purpose Identification project (MPID). The MPID is part of a World Bank regional sub-project among O.E.C.S countries to integrate electronically, government systems and services. The majority of the funding is therefore provided for under the World Bank assistance.

Madam Speaker, this card is intended to provide a unique means of identification for O.E.C.S citizens and one that is authentic, and conforms to international standards. The national ID cards will also be used for voting purposes during general elections. I am advised Madam Speaker, that some countries which previously issued voter ID cards are considering taking the approach that Dominica is pursuing in regard to the use of the national ID cards.

Madam Speaker, in respect to the Office of the Prime Minister, the sum of one million, two hundred and twenty-seven thousand dollars ($1,227,000) was approved to provide social assistance to various individuals.

In addition to the above, a sum of one hundred thirty-four thousand, seven hundred dollars ($134,700) was required to meet outstanding payments for the hosting of the OECS Heads of Government meeting; while two hundred fifty thousand, one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($250,125) was appropriated for replacement of a vehicle assigned to the office of the Prime Minister.

In respect to the Ministry of Finance, Madam Speaker, the sum of five million, six hundred thousand dollars ($5,600,000) was approved to meet retroactive payments to public officers for the period July 2010 to June 2012. This is in accordance with the agreement reached with the public service unions.

Madam Speaker, during this period, Government had to make available the sum of three hundred and thirty-three thousand, six hundred and thirty-two dollars ($333,632) to the Ministry of Agriculture to curb the spread of the Black Sigatoka disease.
Government is continuing its efforts to manage and contain the spread of this very deadly disease. However the cooperation of the general public is needed to complement our efforts at wiping out this deadly threat to the agricultural sector and particularly the banana industry.

Madam Speaker, Government continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to human resource development in this country. Madam Speaker, it is worth noting that 16% of the 2012/2013 Recurrent Budget was allocated to the Ministry of Education. In this supplementary an additional $9.7 million is being appropriated.

The sum of nine million, two hundred ninety-seven thousand, five hundred and forty three dollars ($9,297,543) was spent on the new Dominica State College. Three million fifty-one thousand, five hundred and fifteen dollars ($3,051,515) represented Government’s contribution, while six million, two hundred forty-six thousand and twenty-eight dollars ($6,246,028) was funded by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The balance of four hundred and eighty thousand dollars ($480,000) was approved to meet tuition, stipends and living expenses for Government scholars and Government assisted students.

Madam Speaker, in respect to the Ministry of Lands, Housing, Settlements and Water Resource Management, the additional sum of eight million, four hundred seventy-five thousand, two hundred and eleven dollars ($8,475,211) was appropriated as follows:

An amount of one million, seven hundred seventy-one thousand and fifty-three dollars ($1,771,053) from local resources was allocated towards the West Coast Water Supply project. This is to complement the additional grant funds from the European Union which was spent during this period. The additional grant amounted to three million, seven hundred and four thousand, one hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($3,704,158). This project is one means by which the Government’s goal of providing 100 percent coverage of safe and reliable potable water is being demonstrated.
This investment, which includes the laying of pipes and construction of storage tanks, will significantly improve coverage and water quality for communities from Capuchin to Salisbury.

Further to the above, Madam Speaker, the Government provided the sum of three million dollars ($3,000,000) to improve sanitation conditions in all communities. These funds were allocated specifically for improvement in washroom facilities throughout various communities in Dominica. This initiative is part of the Housing Programme which aims to modernize and enhance the living conditions of citizens.

Madam Speaker, in light of its social protection strategy, the Government also provided additional resources of nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($950,000) through the Ministry of Social Services to facilitate direct cash transfers to the elderly and less fortunate through the Public Assistance Programme.

In respect to the Ministry of Health, Madam Speaker, the sum of two million, six hundred ninety three thousand, six hundred and fifty eight dollars ($2,693,658) was approved for the following:

• Engagement of Interns: $ 122,105
• Repairs to the CT Scan: $ 349,801
• Procurement of pharmaceuticals: $1,178,000
• Counterpart contribution for the housing expansion component of the urban renewal project: $1,043,752

The latter project relates to the construction of apartment buildings in Bath Estate and Elmshall. These projects have started and we look forward to their completion and their allocation to eligible persons.

This year, Madam Speaker, Government made available the sum of one hundred and one thousand, three hundred dollars ($101,300) towards carnival activities in various communities in an effort at fostering community spirit and embracing our cultural heritage.

The sum of ninety-nine thousand, two hundred fifty-nine dollars ($99,259) was also provided to the Ministry of Culture to meet the cost of preparation of the grounds at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium for hosting the cricket match, West Indies versus Zimbabwe.

Madam Speaker, an appropriation of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($450,000) was made to the Personnel Services Department on conclusion of negotiations for the last triennium. This represented Government’s contribution to the Dominica Association of Teachers (DAT) and the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) in the sums of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and three hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) respectively. These amounts were agreed to as part of the collective bargaining process, for specific programmes of the respective unions.

The sum of two hundred thirty-one thousand, five hundred and ten dollars ($231,510) was for meeting payments for janitorial and security services, since the budgeted amount for the year proved insufficient due to additional services requested during the year.

Madam Speaker, the amount of fifty-four thousand, nine hundred ninety-six dollars ($54,996) was required to meet commitments in respect to the Dominica High Commission in London.

Madam Speaker, a substantial part or 54% of this supplementary expenditure was geared toward infrastructural development. The details are as follows:

The sum of two million, five hundred thousand ($2,500,000) was spent to repair feeder roads and improve farm access in several communities across this country.

These funds were intended to start work on those roads which were in greatest disrepair and in advance of the receipt of funds under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM). The rehabilitation of feeder roads is a major component of the BAM.

Two appropriations totaling seventeen million, nine hundred ninety-eight thousand, eight hundred eighty-eight dollars ($17,998,888) were made to facilitate ongoing works on the Pond Casse to Melville Hall road, which includes upgrading of the road network from the roundabout to Melville Hall and improvements to a number of bridges.

Funding was from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in the amount of fourteen million, four hundred sixty-one thousand and ninety- eight dollars ($14,461,098) as well as from local resources in the sum of three million, five hundred thirty-seven thousand, seven hundred and ninety dollars ($3,537,790).

This project, Madam Speaker, despite many challenges, is nearing completion and no doubt, many of our citizens applaud the efforts of the Government on this very critical undertaking which is already contributing to an enhanced driving experience.

Madam Speaker, an amount of five hundred forty-five thousand, three hundred forty-four dollars ($545,344) was approved to meet some outstanding payments related to air access improvement programme.

The Government also made funds available for other critical road improvements detailed below:

The sum of two million, nine hundred and sixty-two thousand, seven hundred and eighty-six dollars ($2,962,786) was provided to meet contractual obligations for road works in the areas of Grand Fond; Eggleston; Lalee Coco; and Morne Prosper as well as river wall protection in St Joseph.

Three hundred eighty-eight thousand, one hundred and forty-two dollars ($388,142) was spent on the Pond Casse to Laronde road, to facilitate the additional traffic during the hosting of the OECS Heads Summit at the Rosalie Bay Resort.

Madam Speaker, the amount of four hundred fifteen thousand, three hundred and eighty-eight dollars ($415,388) is for expenditure related to clearing of debris, storm drains, landslides, fallen trees etc. in response to storm damage during the period August to October 2012.

The sum of two million, six hundred ninety-nine thousand, seven hundred and fifty-nine dollars ($2,699,759) was utilized for urgent and critical road maintenance in the following areas:
• Portsmouth – Blenheim
• Bioche
• Blenheim – Hatten Garden
• Woodford Hill Village Road
• Jalousie Road (Castle Bruce)
• Pointe Baptiste Road (Calibishie)
• Laudat Village Road
• Stock Farm/Yam Piece/Tarrish Pit Roads
• Tan-Tane-Capuchin Road
• Roseau Street Asphalt Patching
• Jimmit – Main Internal Leg
• Zabrico Retaining Wall – (Thibaud/Vieille Case)

Madam Speaker, the significant outlay of twelve million, four hundred seventy-five thousand, nine hundred and eighty-seven dollars ($12,475,987) was for undertaking geothermal development works in the Roseau Valley to include drilling and site preparation. This was funded as follows:

• Resources from the economic citizenship program – four million, five hundred eighty-one thousand, two hundred and seventy-seven dollars ($4,581,277).
• Loan funds from the AFD – seven million, five hundred sixty-four thousand, three hundred and forty-two dollars ($$7,564,342).
• Resources from the European Union – three hundred thirty thousand, three hundred and sixty-eight dollars ($330,368).

Over EC$31 million dollars has already been invested for the exploratory phase of this project. The Government is currently pursuing the development of a small power plant.

Madam Speaker, geothermal development is considered a national priority for Dominica. Electricity generated from this source is expected to provide a lower cost alternative to diesel generation and the benefits of such initiative are expected to extend beyond the domestic electricity market to that of energy export.

Finally, Madam Speaker, the additional sum of two million, seven hundred seventy-one thousand, six hundred and seventy-eight dollars ($2,771,678) was appropriated to supplement the approved budget for utilities. The amount spent on electricity remains a concern for the government. The geothermal initiative is expected to bring improvements in this area; however, in the meantime a call goes out to all concerned to do more to eliminate wastage, so that we can accomplish more with the resources available.

Madam Speaker, in light of the above, I recommend for the approval of this Honourable House, the Supplementary Estimate in the sum of seventy-eight million, eight hundred and sixteen thousand, eight hundred thirty-four dollars and ninety-one cents ($78,816,834.91).

I thank you.

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