Government tables $641.5 billion budget, $402 billion to be raised in taxes
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has tabled a $641.5 billion budget in the House of Representatives along with a plan to collect $402 billion dollars in taxes this year.
The $641.5 billion expenditure plan is a $102 billion increase over the $539.3 billion dollar package approved for the 2014/2015 fiscal year which ends on March 31.
The new tax estimates of $402 billion represents a massive increase over the $261 billion projected to be collected this year.
In its Fiscal Policy Paper presented to the House, the Government said crafting this year's budget was developed in harmony with the objectives of the medium term macroeconomic programme being overseen by the International Monetary Fund.
It says the focus was on strategies geared at maintaining the primary surplus of 7.5 per cent of GDP, equivalent to $121.2 billion.
That target is geared at achieving the objective of reducing the debt and maintaining it at sustainable levels.
According to the Government, crafting the budget was quite challenging as considerable efforts were made to contain expenditure at levels consistent with the expected revenue inflows to deliver the required fiscal targets.
The issue of public sector wages has also been highlighted as a major concern for the government and this year a slight increase has been projected for wages and salaries.
It is estimated that the wage bill for public sector workers will come out at $158.7 billion at the end of March and will marginally increase to $165.2 billion at the end of March 2016.