Public Works get less than half desired budget
While Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister has indicated that his ministry needs over $200 million for its capital budget in the next year, it was revealed yesterday that it was allotted less than half that.
In the Ministry of Finance’s Draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2019/2020, only $93,735,830 was budgeted for the ministry’s capital expenditure for the fiscal year.
“The Ministry of Public Works ideally would like to have over $200 million for our capital budget this year,” Bannister said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“We know we’re not going to get it. We know the minister of finance has to stabilize the economy, and there are certain obligations that he has.”
Bannister said he hoped Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest would provide as much funding as possible for capital works.
“We have an ambitious agenda, and you see the things we’ve started to do,” he said.
“In two years we’ve done more than I can imagine any Ministry of Public Works has done in two years, and we’re looking to do even more.”
Bannister cited numerous upcoming projects in the ministry, including new airports in Exuma, Eleuthera, the Berry Islands and Long Island.
He also noted road work on several islands, particularly Abaco and New Providence.
The ministry also has significant work to do on Ragged Island, which was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Irma. Government buildings on the island remain in a state of disrepair.
It is unclear whether the lack of funding for the ministry will affect planned projects.
However, $9 million was allotted in the draft estimates for roadwork on New Providence.
According to the document, the Ministry of Public Works capital expenditure budget accounts for 39.9 percent of the government’s total capital expenditure.