by Linda Straker
- International funding agencies make allowances for approved funds to be repurposed
- Housing Project affected by reallocating of Government funds
- Monies received from Spotlight Initiative
Government enforced the Escape Clause in the Fiscal Responsibility legislation as part of temporary measures to deal with the negative fiscal implications of Covid-19. Government also sought “Repurposing No objection” approvals from funding agencies whose projects had already received the necessary funding but were put in a waiting mode when the island when into lockdown in late March 2020.
“Some of our funds for certain projects, we had to repurpose it because we recognised that our psychosocial unit where a lot of the needs really surface, they did not have much equipment to work with,” said Chrissy Worme-Charles Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development.
“Like the whole telehealth approach, so some of the funds are re-directed there in terms of building their capacity and the usage of that equipment, such as the ICT equipment so that they can spread the reach of persons,” she disclosed during the weekly Tuesday post-cabinet briefing while answering questions about Covid-19 funding received the ministry.
International funding agencies make allowances for approved funds to be repurposed or re-directed once the new component is justified, and it will affect the overall outcome of the original project. “We had to write to the funding agencies to get the necessary approval for us to redirect the use of funds,” said Delma Thomas, Social Development Minister.
“We received some monies from the Spotlight Initiative, it’s in the programme but there were some monies that could have been used to purchase protective equipment that we used to purchase PPEs and other equipment, and so the Ministry could have purchased together with the funding agency and presented it to Ministry of Health and others.” Thomas did not disclose the amount of money that was repurposed.
The Spotlight Initiative is a UN 2 million Euro project that among other things will contribute to the achievement of gender equality, peace, social inclusion and protection of human rights, which are catalytic for sustainable development (particularly Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16) and inclusive growth, in accordance with Agenda 2030, as well as the priority areas of the UN Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework, and Grenada’s Gender Equality Policy and Action Plan (GEPAP).
Within the capital budget, the Housing Project was affected not by repurposing but by reallocating of Government funds. “This was one of the areas that got cut in terms of Government having to redirect funds and move funds for other purposes, our board housing and bathroom programme was affected,” she said.
Finance Minister Gregory Bowen disclosed in December that Government is enforcing the Escape Clause and Section 8 (3) (f) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act as part of a strategy to deal with the overall negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
“The road ahead will be extremely difficult as we seek to reshape and renew our economy as well as our society in this new and uncertain environment,” Bowen said. Section 10 of the FRL provides for the Minister of Finance by Order to suspend, for a period not exceeding one fiscal year, fiscal rules, targets and corrective measures under sections 7 and 8, where a natural disaster, public health epidemic, or war as a result of which a state of emergency Receipts and expenditures excluded from fiscal rules and targets.
The suspension will be until 31 December 2021.
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