Budget Consultation

2012/13 Budget Consultation

Message from the Minister of Finance

Kia Orana,

Today, I would like to announce the commencement of the process for developing the 2012-13 Budget with the release of our first ever Budget Consultation Document.

It is the Government’s desire to get more input into the budget process from across the community.   I and other members of the Government have been provided with many good ideas across the country for our ongoing development. Responsible government encourages community discourse allowing those across the community to get a good understanding of different ideas and the choices faced by the Government.

It is in this sense of community consultation that I would like to take the opportunity to invite individuals, the business community, the church, non-government organisations and other representatives of civil society across the Cook Islands to present a submission to the Government on the formulation of the 2012-13 Budget.

The Budget Consultation Document prepared by the Ministry of Finance & Economic Management contains some base facts to inform people on how the nation is progressing. This will normally be a succinct document, but for this year I have included two further pieces of work to inform the community.

Firstly, the Government has provided a summary of the specific actions recommended by the Economic Task Force and Economic Summit held in April 2011. These actions have been recommended and initially costed by the Economic Task Force.  The Government intends to explore these options further, and will consider the short and medium term priorities outlined by the Task Force in the development of the budget.  The Government is grateful for their efforts which have resulted in an impressive list of actions.

Secondly, we have included the guiding principles underlying the current Functional Review of the Public Service.  It is the intent of the Government to improve productivity and focus the public service on its core business and to provide opportunities for new initiatives.

This Government will always be fiscally prudent.  We have seen in the recent past how the poor state of public finances can quickly get out of control and cripple a country; we are seeing exactly this playing out in many parts of the world.

At this point in time of our national development the government is strongly advocating wise investment in key infrastructure as it is the key to our continued national prosperity.  Following the Budget consultation the Government will publish its master infrastructure list, much of which is already identified in the Economic Task Force recommendations.

This list will outline the major works we would like to undertake, and and an approximate costing for that infrastructure.

In a break from the past, the Government will release the Budget Policy Statement on 1 December along with an update on the Government’s financial and economic projections.

This document will take into account feedback we received from the community in the preceding weeks.   We will also be asking our development partners to meet with us in late January of 2012 to work through coordinating their investments for the continued development of the Cook Islands.

I would like to see both the Government and development partners working cohesively to ensure that we get the best return from our investments.

I have recently announced the Government will assist Parliament in re-establishing the Finance and Expenditure Committee.  This will add an additional level of scrutiny of Government and provide a more effective Parliamentary process for  the review of the Government’s budget.

The Government is aiming to get the budget to Parliament in early June 2012, well in time for the Committee, and Parliamentary debate.  We are aiming to have the budget passed and ready for implementation on 1 July 2012.

I encourage you all to contribute and participate in the development of the budget, it is in this manner and spirit that our nation will continue to develop and advance.

There is no set format to a submission, they can be brief or as long as the author desires. These will be made public and posted on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management website: www.mfem.gov.ck

 

Honourable Mark Brown
Minister for Finance and Economic Management
12 October 2011

Download a full copy of the budget consultation document here.