NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Despite a 36% or $4.1 million increase in the allowance for travel and living expenses in the upcoming budget, Prime Minister Brave Davis said yesterday that this “does not mean that it had to be used”.
“Well, we don’t know what trips we’ll have in the coming year,” Davis told media on the sidelines of a conference in Baha Mar.
“And until we figure it out, it’s an allowance. It will not be used. The fact that we have allocated does not mean that it must be used. It is there to cover any unplanned trips that may arise.
Davis said: “There are certain trips that need to be taken by ministers that are related to their specific portfolios. There are certain journeys that I have to make as far as I am concerned as the leader of the country. There are leadership summits throughout the year that I have to attend.
“And so this stipend is to ensure that it is covered when we are able to travel.”
The government has allocated $14.85 million for travel and living expenses in the next fiscal period, up 36% from the $10.9 million allocation for the current fiscal period.
With the exception of 2021/2022, the overall allocation for the coming fiscal year is down from the allocations made for travel in the previous two fiscal years.
In the 2020/2021 fiscal year, the government spent $7.1 million on travel.
The government $8.66 million in 2017-2018; $8.88 million for 2018/2019; $18.93 million in 2019/2020; and $20.46 million in 2020/2021.
Upon taking office in September 2021, the Supplementary Budget revised the travel allowance for the current fiscal year to $10.65 million.
The award of over $20 million for travel and living expenses in 2020/2021 was awarded for the new GFS accounting classification and how positions are represented, as well as “proper accounting of the position following under-budgeting under the former Christie Administration.
According to the 2022/2023 budget, the government will allocate $15.3 million for travel in the 2023/2024 financial year; and $16.4 million in the following period (2024/2025).
The largest increase for travel and living expenses in the upcoming budget was reflected by the Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation.
Domestic travel in the department for 2022/2023 will increase to $331,100 from $88,200 in the current fiscal year.
The department’s international travel is expected to increase from just over $151,000 to $677,000, an increase of $526,000.
The substantive Minister, Chester Cooper, the Deputy Prime Minister recently visited Guyana for the CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum this month.
The minister also traveled with a delegation to Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
Cooper is expected to engage in mutual interest and cooperation around aviation, investment and financial services while positioning The Bahamas as the regional leader in sustainable tourism.
International travel for the Department of Immigration will increase over the coming period from $1.2 million to $1.8 million.
The figure represents the repatriation of illegal migrants, according to the budget.
The allowance for domestic travel in the Prime Minister’s Office will increase from nearly $218,000 to nearly $227,000, while international travel will increase from $174,000 to $399,000.
OPM spent approximately $125,000 on domestic travel and living expenses in fiscal year 2020/2021, and only $2,420 on international travel, reflecting ongoing restrictions at the height of the crisis. pandemic.
During the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the OPM spent over $517,000 on international travel and some $152,000 on domestic travel.
The Department of Local Government will receive an increase of $135,000 for domestic travel, from approximately $212,000 to $347,000.
Likewise, the allowance for domestic and international travel in the Ministry of Finance will increase by more than $61,000 and approximately $89,000 respectively.
The Department of Inland Revenue will receive $170,000 for domestic travel in the next budget, more than triple the $55,800 it received in the current fiscal year.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force Domestic Travel Allowance will increase by nearly $280,000 from $795,000 to $1.07 million over the coming period.
Under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, domestic travel is forecast for 2022/2023 from just under $100,000 to $231,000.
The international travel allowance for the Department of Labor will increase from $12,750 to $100,000.
According to the budget, domestic and international travel will increase significantly – approximately $377,500 – at the Department of Health and Wellness.
International travel within the department was estimated at $310,500, down from $15,000 this fiscal year.