Despite the cynicism and ridicule that the Prime Minister’s 2019 Budget Address has evoked from some quarters, Education Minister Michael Browne is applauding the amount of money allocated to his ministry.
While presenting the Budget on Thursday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed that the Ministry of Education will receive the highest allotment ($119.4 million) this fiscal year. Minister Browne interprets this as signaling government’s commitment to higher learning for the nation.
“When the Prime Minister speaks about an economic powerhouse, it’s not only just rhetoric; it’s showing that in order for you to develop a country and develop an economy, the greatest investment has to be overall in its people,” he said.
“The pinnacle of a government, in terms of its achievements and for any civilized society, is the attainment, the gradual attainment of higher levels of education and training.”
Meantime, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment received the second largest allocation of $109.9 million; the Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Public Safety and Labour was third at $99.3 million, and the Ministry of Works fourth with $80.2 million.
The budgetary allocations for other ministries were presented as follows: Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Information Technology, $16.6 million; Ministry of Housing, Lands and Urban Renewal, $6.1 million; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Immigration, $39.2 million; Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, Youth and Gender Affairs, $24.8 million; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs, $16 million; Ministry of Energy, Civil Aviation & Transportation, $8.4 million; and Ministry of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, $24 million. The 2019 budget also includes allocations for the Office of the Governor General, $2.3 million; The Legislature, $2.2 million; The Cabinet, $4.1 million; The Judiciary, $2.3 million; The Service Commissions, $908,000; Audit, $1.3 million; Pensions and Gratuities, $84 million; Electoral Commission, $4.5 million; Ombudsman, $630,000; and Charges on Public Debt, $458.8 million. The Office of the Prime Minister is allocated $31.7 million and the Ministry of Finance, Corporate Governance and Public-Private Partnerships will receive $110.9 million.