Parliament to table new budget


THE 2018 national budget is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Nov 28, according to Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel.
Parliament will convene from next Tuesday, Nov 21, to deal with normal business, he said.
Parliament last sat in September to pass a supplementary budget which, among other things, was to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to around the 30 per cent level.
The fall in Government revenue forced the government to reduce costs so as to maintain the 2.5 per cent deficit forecast in the 2017 national budget, and reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to the 30 per cent level.
But Shadow Minister for Finance and Treasury Ian Liung-Stuckey said the supplementary budget failed to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to the 30 per cent level.
He said “under still very optimistic assumptions” it was only reduced to 32.1 per cent, which meant missing the debt target “by a massive K1.6 billion”.
“The 100-day plan claimed the 2017 deficit will be 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product,” he said.
“However, the 2017 supplementary budget is still based on the assumption of the K850 million in dividend payments.
“At the time of the mid-year update by Treasury, not a single toea of this had been received.
“Statutory authorities and State-Owned Enterprises cannot afford to pay such huge dividends and meet their obligations to provide services.”
Ling-Stuckey said the World Bank recently forecast the deficit at 3.2 per cent in 2017, and expected to increase to 3.5 per cent in 2019 and 2020.