8. The department of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has incurred significant arrears for goods and services across all its programmes. These include rentals, utilities, allowances and communication expenses. The Ministry currently faces a risk from being taken to court and possible cancellation of leases and eviction of arrears for these services if services and rentals arrears are not cleared. Thus, we are recommending that financial resources be made available to settle arrears for goods and services.
9. The Public Service Commission continues to face high office rental costs amounting to US$2 million for the year 2018. The Commission has purchased land and now require funds to construct their own offices. We are also recommending that financial resources be allocated towards construction of offices for the Public Service Commission which is cost-effective in the long run.
10. The concept of social dialogue is failing to attract external financing despite its importance, more so in the new dispensation as outlined by His Excellency. The current allocation of US$110 000 towards social dialogue through the Budget is too low. It covers only 22 percent of their expectations to sustain the operations of the Tipartite Negotiating Forum, hence the need for extra budgetary resources to supplement the current allocation.
11. Critical child welfare programmes are seriously underfunded. Although US$20 million was allocated to the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). It was however, 100 percent increase from the allocation of the previous year 2017. This amount however, falls short of the $120 310 828 required to sustain the programme. Cumulative arrears incurred under this programme over the years 2015 to 2017 now stand at US$87 million. In addition, we have children in difficult circumstances programme that was allocated $500 000 against a required budget of $1.5 million. Furthermore, only US$50 000 compared to a requirement US$100 000 has been allocated for children on the streets. This will adversely affect that social programme. We are therefore, recommending that the budget allocates adequate financial resources towards the support programmes for our vulnerable children.
12. The Health Assistance Fund had bided for US$12 million but was allocated mere US$2.5 million in the Budget. Cumulative arrears incurred over the years have amounted to US$7 496 874. If arrears are not cleared, the vulnerable sick may end up not accessing medical services. There is therefore, urgent need for upward review of the allocation towards the health assistance fund.
13. The Elder Persons Assistance was allocated US$550 000 out of a requirement of US$880 220, leaving a shortfall of $330 000. Arrears incurred stand at US$211 680. This also needs to be reviewed upwards. I thank you Madam Speaker.