Fono Ekepule to pass government budget with no changes to figures

The Appropriations Bill for 2019/2020 is expected to be passed after the third and final reading by the Fono Ekepule tomorrow Wednesday July 31st. 

According to the Treasury the actual numbers have been updated but there will be no changes to the figures.

The Minister of Finance the Hon. Premier Sir Toke Talagi will not be at the meeting tomorrow as he is still overseas. 

There will be minor changes to the names of the Department line items. What used to be the line item called the Premier’s Department will now be called The Office of the Secretary to Government. 

BCN news understand that the Fono will also hear from the parliamentary select committee’s report on the budget. The Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Maureen Melekitama is expected to deliver the report before the Fono tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, the leader of the Opposition, Hon O’love Jacobsen has expressed concerns over the lack of access to this report before the meeting tomorrow. Hon. Jacobsen told BCN news that she is unable to do her job effectively if she is not able to read the select committee’s report before the meeting tomorrow.

Jacobsen’s comments echo the concerns raised at the first reading of the budget last month by other opposition members, Crossley Tatui and Terry Coe that they need more time to read the papers to be discussed before the Fono. 

The total recurrent revenue for the financial year is $28,735,000 and the total recurrent expenditure is $28,173,000.

Story by Esther Pavihi

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