Two billion allocated for recovery

The Vanuatu Parliament this week approved expenditure of over VT2 billion on emergency recovery, passing a Supplementary Budget of around VT1.2 billion and the use of VT1 billion from the annual Budget.

The Finance Minister, Johnny Koanapo, tabled the Bill for the Supplementary Appropriation Act.no of 2020. He said the Government will use the VT2billion to respond to emergencies and disasters currently affecting Vanuatu.

He says the recovery budget comes in two parts: the Supplementary Budget funds and VT1 billion in funds from the existing annual Budget. The 2020 annual Budget is around VT57 billion in total.

“The 2020 Budget amount [to be used on disaster recovery] along with the new Supplementary Budget amount of VT1.2 billion that was passed by Parliament on Thursday brings a total of VT2 billion,” Mr Koanapo said.

The Finance Minister says the COVID-19 crisis has caused a downfall in Vanuatu’s economy.

Minister Koanapo says because of this crisis the Government has approved the use of funds from the annual Budget to respond to the economic impact.

“Under Section 34 of the Public Finance Economic Management Act, the Government is able to use 1.5 per cent of the appropriated  Budget during a State of Emergency,” Mr Koanapo said.

“An amount of over VT857 million  was used in the first stage of the State of Emergency to address the issue of COVID-19.”

Minister Koanapo says the Government is now using another 1.5 per cent allocation from the annual Budget for the second stage of the State of Emergency.

He says the Government’s Micro-economic Committee had predicted that Vanuatu’s GDP growth would reach 1.9 per cent in 2020 but with the COVID-19 crises and Cyclone Harold it has so far reached only 0.6 per cent.

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