OPM budget more than doubles
The budget for the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has more than doubled to $26.79 million, according to the 2018/2019 budget.
The budget was tabled in the House of Assembly last Wednesday.
The bulk of the increase is made up of several government entities being brought under the purview of the OPM and a sizable increase for “advertisement and media supplements”.
According to the budget, $3.7 million has been allocated for this purpose, a massive increase from the $1.2 million allocated in 2017/2018.
Between July 2017 and March 2018, there was no spending for this purpose, despite the $1.2 million allocation. In the 2016/2017 budget, just over $3 million was spent on advertisement and media supplements in the OPM.
The government has budgeted $3.7 million for advertisement and media supplements in 2019/2020, and a further $3.7 million in 2020/2021.
The Over-the-Hill Initiative, a new line item in the 2018/2019 budget, has been allocated $5 million for the upcoming fiscal period. This is in line with what Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis foreshadowed for the rejuvenation program.
The Office of the Prime Minister in Exuma, which appears to be a new line item in the budget, will receive $500,000 in 2018/2019.
The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, previously listed under the Ministry of National Security, appears as a line item under the OPM and has been allocated $7.9 million.
The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, another new line item, has been allocated $50,000. Minnis, who launched the unit in May, outlined six priority goals of his administration the unit will advance and monitor for effective implementation.
The six priorities include Over-the-Hill rejuvenation, land reform, energy reform and infrastructure, ease of doing business, education, and safety and security.
The program is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Additionally of note is the decrease of personal emoluments and allowances in the OPM – from $3.7 million to $2.6 million.
The more-than-$1 million reduction is the result of decreased spending on salaries for permanent and contract workers in the OPM.
According to the budget, the OPM spent a whopping $89.9 million in 2016/2017, despite an allocation for that fiscal period of $17.069 million.
Between July 2017 and May 2018, three quarters of the fiscal year, the OPM is estimated to have spent $7.5 million.
The OPM was allocated $7.223 million in the 2015/2016 budget.
It was allocated $3.395 million in the 2014/2015 budget and spent $4.402 million that fiscal year.
For the 2013/2014 fiscal year, the OPM spent $2.813 million.