Finance Minister's 1st Supplementary Appropriations Bill Presentation On Tuesday, October 26

Minister of finance, investment and trade Hon. E. Jay Saunders presented his first supplementary budget to the House on Tuesday. The following is the minister's presentation.



Deputy premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. E. Jay Saunders

My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders.

Good Morning.

Before I get started Mr. Speaker, as you’re aware, there has been a dark cloud lingering over our great country for the last couple of weeks. During that time, we as a country, have had a number of untimely deaths. And Mr. Speaker, every one of them, regardless of the circumstance of their passing, left us far too soon.


I would like to take this time to pass my condolences to all their family and loved ones – including our colleague in this House, Hon. Jameka Williams, and my colleague in Cabinet, Deputy Governor, Anya Williams – and to remind them that in St. Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Romans, specifically Romans Chapter 14, Verse 8, he stated that: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.”

May the souls of the recently departed live in peace this day, and I pray that their home be with God in Zion.


Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the capacity of Minister of Finance, Trade and Investments to table the 1st Supplementary Appropriation Bill for FY 2021-22. But, before I do so, I would like to express profound thanks to the Hon. Premier for entrusting me with this significant responsibility.


Mr. Speaker, it was 9 years ago in 2012, when then Minister of Finance and current Premier Hon. Washington Misick told me that he wanted to start working on succession planning, as he felt the need to start the search for someone who could eventually replace him as Minister of Finance. And Mr. Speaker, I remember throwing out possible names to him, but never in my wildest dreams did it cross my mind that I could or would the person who ended up as his successor.


I am humble and honored to hold this position, and with God’s guidance, and the Premier’s mentorship, I will do my utmost best for our people and for our country.


Mr. Speaker, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t take time out to mention the Ministry of Health, and to formally thank them for the support that they gave me during my short time as their Minister. Mere words cannot express my heartful gratitude to them for their kindness!

Now turning my attention to my new Ministry – i.e. the Ministry of Finance, which includes:


1. Invest Turks and Caicos,

2. The Budget Office,

3. The Public Investment Programme Department,

4. Financial Services and Supplies Management,

5. The Inland Revenue Department,

6. Central Purchasing Unit,

7. The Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition,

8. The Financial Transactions Information Exchange Department,

9. Statistics Department,

10.Economic Planning Department,

11.Public Policy and Strategic Management Unit,

12.Portfolio Management Office,

13.Customer and Government Information Services, and

14.Digitization and E-Government Technology and Innovation.


Mr. Speaker, I have had an opportunity to visit many of these departments, and I will speak about them in more details at a future meeting, but I must say I can see why the Premier enjoyed his many years working with them, and I am sure that I will feel the same at the end of my time with them.


Mr. Speaker, when I think of the Ministry of Finance, I think of Proverbs Chapter 21, Verse 5, in which King Solomon – the wise King – stated:

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit…”

I repeat, the plans of the diligent lead to profit!


According to King Solomon, a well-developed financial plan provides the clarity and confidence needed to make wise financial decisions.


Mr. Speaker, in this vein, I now present to you and this honourable House, our Government, your Government, the people’s Government, well-developed financial plan – i.e. this 1st Supplementary Appropriation Bill for FY 2021-22.


In this bill Mr. Speaker, you will see that the almighty God has bestowed many blessings on our great country with its beauties grand. I used the word “blessings”.


Mr. Speaker, as this Supplementary Budget has been made possible due to the unprecedented fiscal performance of the country since our Government came into office.

Within these Supplementary Estimates, and based on our near-term forecast, we are proposing to increase revenues from two hundred and seventy-four million (US$274M) to three hundred and sixty-three million (US$363M). That’s an increase of approximately ninety million (US$90M) – or 32.5% - over the approved Budget


Estimates, with:

• Stamp Duties on Land Transactions at $35M,

• Import and Customs Duties at US$22M, and

• Accommodation Tax at US$16M, being the primary drivers of the increased revenues.


And Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that the real estate and tourism sectors are currently experiencing month on month growth that’s exceeding pre-covid levels.


Due to this better-than-expected performance, I am also happy to report that there is no longer a need for this good good Government to draw down on the loan facility to support recurrent expenditures – i.e. costs (for those persons without and accounting background).

Due to this strong performance, our Government is proposing to increase expenditure by three hundred and forty-six thousand, four hundred and forty-three dollars (US$346,443), which is approximately a 1% increase over the current budget.


In addition, our Government is reallocating seven million, seven hundred thousand dollars (US$7.7M) across ministries to facilitate major government priorities and process improvements. Of this amount, US$3.4 million were savings achieved in personal emoluments for H1 – i.e. the period April -September.


The new priorities include:

• Land acquisition to support the tourism and education sectors,

• Seed funding to support the implementation of the Credit Union Ordinance,

• Funding to support the partial credit guarantee fund,

• Increased allocation for special needs children and the school voucher

programme,

• Funding to continuously monitor the PPP contract between TCIG and IHC,

and

• Additional funding to allow TCIG to enter into contracts to advance priority

items including: citizens security, education, health care, and other social

services.


Mr. Speaker, before I close, I would like to take a minute and directly speak to our people. I want them to know that while our Government has done a lot over these short eight months in Government, we are aware that there’s a lot more work to be done.


We feel your pain! Your pain is our pain. And I want to assure you that we’re working as fast as we can to fix the problems of today while positioning the country for a brighter tomorrow.

These things we are doing in parallel, and this Supplementary Appropriation Bill is designed to achieve that. I want you to know that your Government is working 24x7 on your behalf, and in the words of former United States President George Bush “we will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail”, when it comes you living your best lives in our beautiful by nature Turks & Caicos Islands.


Mr. Speaker, I now beg leave to lay on the Table of this Honourable House in accordance with Standing Order 32, and section 116 (2) of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Constitution Order 2011 the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands Revised Estimates of Expenditure for Financial Year 2021/2022.


Mr. Speaker, I move that the Revised Estimates of Expenditure for Financial Year 2021/2022 be referred to the Appropriations Committee to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 115.

Thank you.

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