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Friday, August 19, 2022

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Parliament-Supplementary Appropriation Bill : Additional Rs 9.5 M Voted Unanimously

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The Minister of Finances, Economic Planning and Development in his address said that the loans of Rs 145.7 billion voted in the 2021-2022 budget were insufficient for this financial year. He therefore justified and proposed an additional Rs 9.5 billion fund in the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021/2022.

Unforeseen expenditures

The Health Minister, Kailesh Jagutpal got the ball rolling by justifying Rs 490 million for hotels converted into treatment centres. He also stated that “the work done by nurses, doctors and civil servants during the Covid-19 pandemic was priceless”. He also mentioned that 500,000 Molnupiravir tablets, which were about to expire, have been returned to CPN Distributors but nothing has been paid to them so far for the case, even though many tablets have been used in hospitals.

According to Dr Renganaden Padayachy, “the expenditure incurred on certain items in the financial year 2021/2022 was higher by Rs 9.5 billion. We are therefore requesting this new allocation. Voting against this allocation will be unpatriotic.” He based his justifications, mainly on two unforeseen expenses, namely the implementation of the Pay Research Bureau 2021 report in one stroke which was still in the pipeline during the 2021/2022 budget and the Covid 19 related expenses. Renganaden Padayachy also mentioned the additional Rs 1000 to civil servants from January 2020, the adjustment of the pension to the new salary scale for those who retired between January and December 2020, the payment of additional 6 months arrears to civil servants and the costs related to weather events.

IMF forecasts

Accusing the Opposition Parliamentarians of not having understood or read the IMF report. “The IMF projections are totally in line with the government’s actions. The IMF forecasts robust growth of 6.1% in 2022, a GDP that will reach Rs 520 billion exceeding the level in the pre-pandemic period, 1 million tourists achievable for the calendar year and unemployment will fall to 5.7% and a declining public debt from this year.”

Rs 9.5 M voted unanimously

Following Dr Renganaden Padayachy’s explanations, the House voted unanimously for this supplementary appropriation of Rs 9.5 billion. The chamber’s ‘Ayes’ were without the presence of the Opposition Members, who had walked out earlier after the expulsions of Shakeel Mohammed and Rajesh Bhagwan.  The Speaker, Sooroojdev Phokeer endorsed the vote of Rs 280 million to the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Rs 2.5 billion to the Ministry of Health, Rs 520 million to the Centrally Managed Funds of Government, Rs 5.9 billion to Centrally Managed Initiatives of Government and Rs 300 million to the Ministry of Finances. The budget deficit will thus be at 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the public debt is estimated at 88% of GDP.

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