NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Recurrent expenditure for the first nine months of fiscal year 2019/20 grew by $109 million or 6.4 percent according to the Ministry of Finance.
According to its combined nine month fiscal snapshot and report on budgetary performance for fiscal year 2019/2020 (July-March) recurrent expenditure over the period grew by $109 million to $1,810.3 million, or 67.4 per cent of the revised budget estimate, with regard to the same period of fiscal year 2018/19
“Compensation of employees firmed by $47.9 million (9.1 percent) over the review period, and comprised 72.9 per ent of the revised budget target. The boost in wages & salaries, by $37.2 million (8 percent) to $500.8 million, largely reflected the union negotiated lump sum payment to civil servants in December which totaled some $22.8 million,” the Ministry of Finance noted.
It added: “Allowances advanced by $13.6 million (34.6 percent) to $52.9 million, of which $7.9 million was spent on hardship, overtime and other related payments to staff that were either displaced by Hurricane Dorian or key to recovery and restoration efforts.”
Over the period it was noted that tourism-related payments declined by $29.1 million (81.5 percent) to $6.6 million, reflecting the suspension of several marketing subventions provided for under various Heads of Agreements for visiting cruise ships and hotel properties in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“Total non-tax revenue rose by $37.5 million, or 22.4 percent to $204.8 million, equating to 71.6 percent of the revised budget target.”
It was also noted that gaming taxes rose by $8.3 million, or 37.0 percent to $30.8 million over the review period, supported by the new tax schedule agreed to by the Government and gaming operators.
Public debt interest payments also increased by $7.4 million (3.1 percent) to $242.3 million, or 64.3 percent of the revised budget target,” the report noted. “Of this total, $151.9 million was directed to Bahamian dollar debt, with the remaining $90.5 million associated with foreign currency obligations.”
With regards to subsidies—transfers to Government-owned or controlled units which provide goods and services to the public—it was not that these increased by $39.0 million (14.3 percent ) to $310.8 million, and represented 81.2 percent of the revised budget estimate.
“Subsidies to public non-financial corporations strengthened by $45.0 million (18.5 per cent) to $288.6 million, as compared to fiscal year 2018/19, partly reflecting payments associated with hurricane evacuations, subsidies to the National air carrier increased to $17.3 million from $7.8 million in fiscal year 2018/19, while subsidies to Water & Sewerage more than doubled to $38 million in the nine months to March 2020.”
Transfers to the Public Hospital Authority (PHA) also grew to $187.9 million from $177.9 million in the previous year, reflecting several transfers approved in the supplementary budget, including the $4.5 million to facilitate outstanding payments to nurses, the report noted, adding that transfers to private non-financial enterprises fell by $7.7 million (27.9 percent) to $19.9 million, inclusive of the $8.0 million settlement in arrears payment in the same period of fiscal year 2018/2019.