The O’Neill-Abel government today (November 29) presented the 2018 National Budget – its first since coming into office after the National General Elections.
This money plan, the first for the O’Neill-Abel government in this term of parliament.
Against a backdrop of a challenging economic climate, Treasurer Abel handed down a deficit budget.
The presentation was to explain Expenditure, Revenue, and resulting Deficit budget.
Under the 2018 National Budget, Total income including grants is set at K12.7 billion, whilst Total Expenditure including capital expenditure is set at K14.7 billion – a deficit of K1.9 billion, which according to Abel is still within the legal limits.
What Treasury is doing to manage the decline in revenue. The 2018 National Budget has remained largely committed to the government’s priority areas of;
Law & Order
Free & Quality Education
Free & Quality Health
It also recognised that it was time to diversify the economy away from the extractive sector.
Whilst revenues still remain hard to come by, the Government has gone ahead with its intention to increase its commitment to Capital Expenditure, with budget Capital Expenditure set to realise a 15% increase in funding in 2018.
According to National Panning Minister, Richard Maru, this intervention by government is aimed at stimulating the economy in areas away from the traditional reliance on the extractive industry, and is aimed at diversifying the economy base of the country.
Among the big winners in the Capital Expenditure budget is the agriculture sector – which will see the government establishing A State Equity Fund for agriculture, which has been allocated K100 Million.
But as always challenges remain, especially in regards to how these plans are implemented – and according to the Institute of National Affairs, the performance of the public service will need to improve in a big way of the government’s plans have any chance of being realised.