Govt budgets $64mil. for consultants

The government has allocated $64.3 million for consultancy services in the upcoming fiscal year.

In the current budget, the government originally allocated $65.1 million for consultancy services, but according to the 2023/2024 budget tabled in Parliament last week, that figure ballooned to $76.2 million.

In the upcoming fiscal year, 34 government ministries and departments have allocations for consultancy services.

The Ministry of Finance has the largest allocation, coming in at $20.1 million, down from the $29 million allocated in the 2022/2023 fiscal year.

The Department of Environmental Health’s allocation increased slightly from $18.46 million to $18.48 million.

The Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation’s allocation for consultants increased from $4.2 million to $5.1 million.

The government allocated $2 million for consultants in the Ministry of Public Service; $2.25 million in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs; $2.26 million in the Office of the Prime Minister; $1.5 million in the Department of Immigration; and $4.8 million in the Port Department.

Prime Minister Philip Davis came under fire last year over the size of the allocations for consultants. In that budget, tabled in May 2022, the allocation for consultants grew by $15.5 million. The government allocated $49.6 million for consultants in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

When questioned about the increase at the time, Davis said that it didn’t mean that people were hired.

“When you look at the consultancy services, we have expenses in respect for the IT and digitization of various aspects of our cyber security services,” he said in June 2022.

“So, that is where the bulk of the consultancy funds, I think, will be allocated for. But that is where we are headed. We understand you have to be cyber secure.”

He continued, “So, there are proposals under active consideration. That doesn’t mean we will embrace any of them but, at the end of the day, we have to prepare ourselves for these things.”

Last Wednesday, Davis delivered his second budget communication since taking office in 2021.

The government is projecting a deficit in the upcoming fiscal year of $131.6 million – a $389.5 million decrease from the current year’s projected deficit.

Recurrent revenue is projected to be $3.316 billion and recurrent expenditure is projected to be $3.085 billion.

Capital expenditure is projected at $364.6 million, an increase of $5.6 million.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the news editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to news editor in January 2023.

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