Opposition Member and Sixth District Representative, Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines has said something must be done about the rising recurrent expenditure in national budgets.
On November 19, 2019, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) presented a national budget for 2020 to the tune of $414,008,611.00.
$327,766,149 or 79% of the total budget will be allotted to recurrent expenditure or the operational cost of government.
“I always get frightened with big figures and this budget frightens me, Mr Speaker. I keep wondering if as a government we could sit down and somehow reduce our recurrent spending. It has really been escalating year after year, after year and we really need to put our heads together to figure out how we can cut this down,” Hon Maduro-Caines said during her contribution to the budget debate at the Second Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on Friday, December 13, 2019.
According to Hon Maduro-Caines, some persons might get “hurt” and some persons may not be able to travel as much “but we have to do something. This is getting out of control in my view.”
‘We are not doing bad’
The third term legislator said her issue also with a “big budget” is whether the people would benefit from a budget of such size.
“The struggles out there are real and we have to find ways how we can help our people better than how we are doing. We are not doing bad but there is always better. It doesn’t have to be financially but helping them to build themselves also.”
Hon Maduro-Caines noted that opportunities should be in the budget to allow persons to “help themselves to have their own businesses.”
According to her, the everyday stories about what some people go through are mind-boggling. “We know there are some who have this greed but there are some who genuinely need the help…and if elected officials don’t be careful too, as much as we want to help personally, we may end up struggling too, struggling more than they are.”
Hon Maduro-Caines also pointed out that one of her issues with budgets is the line items.
“I don’t like when certain projects are not being put under line items because I think important projects get lost somewhere in a lump of figures.”
The Opposition legislator admitted; however, she has seen more line items in the 2020 Budget more than any other budgets “but certain projects really need to be set out on a line item so they don’t get lost somewhere in the shuffle.”