OPM budget decreases by $6 mil., contract workers to double

OPM budget decreases by $6 mil., contract workers to double
Office of the Prime Minister (FILE PHOTO: Keval Williams)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While the budget for the Office of the Prime Minister in the upcoming fiscal period will decrease overall by nearly $6 million, there are notable increases to the allocations for consultancy services, contract workers, and permanent/pensionable workers.

In the budget, salaries for permanent pensionable workers will increase by nearly $400,000, — from $1.45 million to $1.84 million — while salaries for contract workers will almost double — from $758,000 for this fiscal period to $1.49 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Consultancy services in the Office of the Prime Minister will see a $180,000 increase.

The budget for consultants in the OPM was $520,000 in 2019/2020.

It will receive an allocation of $700,000 in 2020/2021; $1 million in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

According to the budget, there was no expense for consultancy services between July 2019 and March 2020, three quarters of the fiscal year.

In 2018/2019, $30,000 was spent on consultants.

Overall, the allocation for the OPM in 2020/2021 has been set at $20.8 million, down from the $26.6 million in 2019/2020.

In the previous fiscal period, the Office of the Prime Minister spent just shy of $18.9 million.

The line item ‘air transport of persons outside The Bahamas’ will also decrease by 66 percent — from just over $202,000 to nearly $69,000. However, the government plans to allocate $228,000 for this type of travel for the fiscal periods 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, the budget reflects.

Supplies and materials in the OPM will be slashed by over over $800,000 or 90 percent.

The line items was allocated just over $1 million in 2019/2020.

However, the OPM spent just $22,266 of other supplies and material in 2018/2019.

Between July 2019 and March 2020, just over $223,000 was spent on these items.

Food, ice and drinking water will also be reduced from over $115,000 this period to nearly $39,000 in the upcoming fiscal period.

Similarly, provision for contingencies, which has ballooned in the OPM in previous budget periods will be cut by around $300,000 or 40 percent — from nearly $753,000 to just over $452,000.

Overall, international travel will be decreased by over $260,000; printing by $175,000; advertising and public notices by nearly $1 million and operation of facilities and other services by $1 million.

The government allocated $3.67 million for advertising and public notices in 2019/2020.

That allocation will drop to $2.7 million in 2020/2021. However, the government has set an allocation of $3.6 million for the following two fiscal periods.

Additionally, the subsidy for the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, which moved from the Ministry of National Security’s budget to the OPM’s in 2018/2019, will also decrease by over $700,000 — from $7.7 million to $7 million.

The government allocated $7.9 million to the corporation in 2018/2019. However, $8.5 million spent during the period.

In line with the government’s plan to decrease subsidies to all of its corporations and agencies, the budget for corporation will decrease further to $6.3 million in 2021/2022 and $5.3 million in 2022/2023.

In 2018/2019, the budget for the OPM was set at $26.79 million; $17.069 million in 2016/2017 — though $89.9 million was reportedly spend that fiscal year; $7.223 million in the 2015/2016 budget; $3.395 million in the 2014/2015 budget and $2.313 million in the fiscal year 2013/2014.

Over the years, several government entities have been Brough under the purview of the OPM

As it relates to capital expenditure, zero dollars has been allocated for the OPM in 2020/2021.

In 2019/2020, $4.1 million was allocated for construction of temporary housing, and $2.5 million for ‘minor capital projects’.