GOVERNOR ASSENTS TO GOVERNMENT OF ANGUILLA BUDGET FOR 2017
The assent follows an exchange of letters in recent weeks between the Chief Minister, Victor Banks, and Baroness Anelay, UK Minister for the Overseas Territories.
Commenting, Minister Anelay said: “The next few years look challenging for Anguilla. It is important greater action is taken now for the sustainability of the Government of Anguilla’s public finances and future prosperity of the island. I am pleased that the capital and technical assistance the UK Government has provided will support that agenda, and look forward to our continuing partnership in the coming years.”
The Chief Minister first sent the Budget to Baroness Anelay on 21 December, after it had been passed by the House of Assembly. The UK Minister replied seeking clarification on a number of points on 5 January, which the Chief Minister provided on 25 January.
In her reply to the Chief Minister on 2 February, Baroness Anelay explained that her approval to the Budget, on behalf of the Secretary of State, was conditional on a number of measures. This was given her continuing concern that the Government of Anguilla’s Budget offered little headroom to manage any financial uncertainties that might arise during the year. The Chief Minister committed the Government of Anguilla to these measures in a letter also dated 2 February, clearing the way for the Governor to assent to the Act.
- adoption of a Contingency Plan to help manage the fiscal risks associated with the 2017 Budget. Executive Council agreed such a plan on 19 January 2017 and undertook to put the measures in place in a timely fashion to support a balanced budget;
- improved progress in delivery and quarterly reporting on the economic reform package measures Executive Council adopted on 8 March 2016. Executive Council will now approve quarterly updates of progress on an item-by-item basis;
- a commitment that there should be no new draw-down on the Government’s reserves without prior notification, and that the overall annual budget must balance in cash terms with expenditure only taking place when revenues have been received. The Minister also set out her expectation that there should be no new borrowings over and above those already agreed (e.g. for the Community College);
- providing an update in April on the progress of the sale of Anglec Shares, given the vital importance of a successful sale in ensuring the 2017 Budget is delivered as presented to the Assembly; and
- ensuring that officials agree a timetable early on at the start of the process for the 2018 Budget so that Secretary of State approval can be given in advance of the Budget’s presentation to the House of Assembly.
The Governor, Christina Scott, said: “I am pleased to have given assent to the Appropriation Act which, due to its late transmission to the UK, I was unable to do before the start of the year.
There is much work needed in the coming months to deliver the measures and reforms planned by the Government of Anguilla. That will require the Public Service to take responsibility for the efficient and effective delivery of Government’s programmes and ministers’ priorities, ensuring a productive workforce and the provision of high-quality services to the public.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank hard working public servants for the work they will be undertaking in the weeks and months ahead.”