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MPs approve $5.5m extra spending for debt refinancing

David Burt, Premier and finance minister, speaks on the 2023-24 Budget (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Extra government spending for 2022-23 included $5.5 million for debt service in the Ministry of Finance, MPs heard at Friday night’s House of Assembly.

David Burt, the Premier and finance minister, outlined the two debt-refinancing moves, with the second undertaken to take advantage of better interest rates.

Vance Campbell, the tourism and Cabinet Office minister, highlighted extra spending given to the Bermuda Tourism Authority to support local entertainment.

He added there was “critically needed” IT funding required to the tune of $400,000, citing a crash in the government computer systems and a heightened risk of security breaches.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said an extra $3.8 million had been required for the ministry headquarters’ pandemic response.

The Department of Health required an additional $120,000 for a surge of mental health issues associated with Covid-19.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board needed a $15 million subsidy in 2022-23 to achieve its $322 million fixed budget.

Michael Weeks, the national security minister, sought a total supplemental budget of $4.25 million, of which $3.2 million was needed for the fire service to bolster its airport service.

Jason Hayward, the economy and labour minister, outlined unbudgeted payments for the Department of Statistics: $85,000 for its labour force survey and $214,000 to cover the household income and expenditure survey.

The immigration department required $620,000 to hire and train contract workers to deal with a backlog of passport applications and work permit processing, Mr Hayward said, calling it “money well spent”.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told MPs Works and Engineering required $3.75 million to cover fuel and repair costs incurred by the use across government of its vehicles kept at the Government Quarry.

The Bermuda Housing Corporation ran up $4.25 million to start its residential building programme, while $7 million was needed for repairs at the Tynes Bay incinerator.

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Published March 16, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated March 15, 2023 at 7:47 am)

MPs approve $5.5m extra spending for debt refinancing

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