Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has announced government’s plans to undertake a comprehensive Public Expenditure Review during the first quarter of 2020.
Delivering remarks Tuesday at the 2020 Budget Retreat, Dr Mitchell said the review will analyse all government’s expenditure, both recurrent and capital.
Dr Mitchell said, “The Public Expenditure Review will provide concrete recommendations to strengthen expenditure controls, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending and the institutional mechanisms for expenditure management.”
The expenditure review is part of government’s efforts to improve accountability in the public service. Dr Mitchell said, “It is imperative that we improve our expenditure management systems if we are to protect and consolidate the gains we have collectively achieved as a country.”
The scope of the review will include analysis of the effectiveness of expenditure allocation and disbursement of each vote; an assessment of the outputs delivered and outcomes achieved through current expenditure; a value-for-money analysis of spending on road rehabilitation and maintenance and identification of resources to bolster institutional and technical capacities to improve public expenditure management systems.
The Public Expenditure Review comes against the backdrop of irresponsible expenditure and lack of accountability, demonstrated most recently through the high cell phone bills which were processed for payment without the relevant due diligence being done. Dr Mitchell said the systemic weaknesses revealed are unacceptable and must be corrected immediately.
Dr Mitchell said, “It is irresponsible to disregard how the hard-working taxpayers’ dollars are used. When taxpayers’ dollars are wasted, the entire country suffers because both the quality and quantity of public services are negatively affected and trust in public office and the people who serve in them, suffer enormously.”
Thursday’s budget retreat marked the start of the 2020 budget preparation cycle. The retreat included several presentations that focused on the Mid-Year Economic Review; Fiscal Risk Framework for State-Owned Enterprises; the Key Medium-Term Agenda Priorities and 2019 Interventions as well as the Sustainable Development Plan 2020-2035.
Among the objectives of the annual budget retreat is to agree on actions, reporting requirements and timelines for the preparation of the national budget.
The Minister for Finance underscored the importance of the budget process saying, “The annual budget is the most important public policy tool of the government and its preparation must be done with utmost integrity and seriousness. The policies and programmes funded through the national budget are intended to bring real solutions to real problems that affect your families, your neighbours, your friends in all communities across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”