The domestic economy, as it is the case with the global economy, continues to be on recovery mode in the third quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year, Minister of Finance Peggy Serame has assured.

This is attested by the positive growth projected at 4.2 percent for 2022 and 4.1 percent for 2023. Serame revealed that all sectors of the economy have registered positive growth due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the recovery in global demand.

That notwithstanding, there is still need to exercise fiscal discipline in order to sustain the post-COVID recovery to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability.

Presenting the Financial Paper on the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure from the Consolidated and Development Fund, Serame stated that this is especially so due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war that is still being felt throughout the world in the form of inflationary pressures, albeit at a decreasing rate lately.

“It is critical, therefore that measures continue to be put in place to contain public spending and simultaneously provide sufficient support to sectors that are driving transformation and diversification of the economy.

“The Ministry of Finance continues to facilitate funding of Government priorities even under these difficult conditions to ensure that service delivery is not compromised and/or the required levels of public investment necessary for

stimulation and growth of the economy are maintained,” the minister said.

Serame pointed out that the recommended supplementary estimates meet the unforeseen and emergency criteria as stated in the relevant statutes.

“I therefore, believe that the quantum of the supplementary budget attests to the desire for fiscal discipline expressed earlier. The Ministry of Finance received supplementary budget requests amounting to P1 586 108 460 submitted under the recurrent budget from six Ministries, namely: Finance at P24 322 360; Health for P1 332 953 050; Administration of Justice at P36 500 000; Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture at P16 369 140); Foreign Affairs at P12 500 000; and Defence and Security for P343 951 980”.

For the development budget Serame told Parliament late last year that three supplementary requests amounting to P951 937 929 were received from two Ministries and one Independent Department. These are Ministries are Agriculture for P434 832 556; Lands and Water Affairs for P532 879 544; and Attorney General’s Chambers for P44 655 927.

Following an assessment of the requests, only an amount of P133 375 590 is recommended under the recurrent budget, while an amount of P419 058 385 is recommended under the development budget.

She indicated that the Presidential Directive CAB 18 (A)/2016 underscores the principle that Supplementary Budget requests should strictly cater for unforeseen requirements or emergencies and that such requests should be catered for by budget cuts from other areas in the existing budget.

Serame said it is worth noting that the 2022/2023 budget was prepared in the midst of challenging economic circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected all countries across the world.

At the time, substantial amounts of resources were devoted to supporting the population, acquisition of vaccines, healthcare interventions and keeping economic activity going as part of efforts to contain the pandemic thereby, saving lives.

“It is in line with this, that the Ministry of Health was allocated the largest share of the recurrent budget at P10.01 billion, or nearly 20 percent, out of the total Ministerial Recurrent Budget of P50.66 billion in financial year 2022/2023.”