BRADES – Representatives of the Department for International Development (DFID) are on island this week meeting with heads of departments and the core management team of the Government of Montserrat (GOM) on the 2010-2011 budget and other policy matters.
The meetings are to review policy developments and economic and budgetary performance in 2009, progress on policy benchmarks, policy priorities and business plans for 2010/11, and budgetary assistance needs for the coming year and beyond,” said a circular from the Ministry of Finance.
Honourable Financial Secretary, John Skerritt is chairing the meetings which began on Monday and end on Friday. Other members of the GOM core team are Honourable Deputy Governor, Sarita Francis, Angela Greenaway, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development & Trade; and the Lindorna Brade, Budget Director.
The DFID team comprises Roger Clarke (Montserrat Programme Manager, Overseas Territories Department), Patricia Davies, and Simon Stevens (Senior Economic Advisor, MECAB Division).
DFID has provided substantial assistance to Montserrat since the beginning of the volcanic eruption in the mid-1990s. This includes budgetary aid, technical assistance and funding for capital projects. A new plan to cover the five-year period 2008-12 has been developed.
“The total DFID assistance available to Montserrat for the financial year 2010/11 is currently set at 18 million pounds, plus a performance tranche of up to two million pounds, exclusively for capital projects. The discussions will aim to agree on recommendations for budgetary aid for 2010/11. This will include any provisions judged necessary to subsidise air and/or ferry service operations, and any further contributions for reimbursement of social security payments,” the release said.
Separate discussions in February, which are scheduled to include DFID Regional Director Sue Wardell, aim to finalize provisional allocations of funding to capital and other development projects for 2010/11. The intention is that from the 2011/2012 budgetary year, there will be a move back to a multi-year assistance framework.
Meetings with representatives from the various government departments, including customs and excise, inland revenue, agriculture, communications, education, and health were also held. Other agencies such as the Montserrat Tourism Board (MTB) and the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) have also been a part of the discussions.
Photo: (left to right) Simon Stevens, DFID Senior Economic Advisor; Honourable Financial Secretary, John Skerritt; Patricia Davies, and Roger Clarke, Montserrat Programme Manager for DFID are meeting this week to discuss the Government of Montserrat’s budget and the Road Map for future development. DFID has provided substantial assistance to Montserrat since the beginning of the volcanic eruption in the mid-1990s. (Courtesy GIU)