$300m ‘Budget of Revival’ approved by Cook Islands Parliament

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    The total budget summary of $300,049,742, (US$212,051,709) just over $11 million (US$7.7 million) more than the original tabled Budget, was passed in the Cook Islands Parliament on Thursday before it was adjourned sine die.

    The additional amount is for government agencies which were appropriated over $165 million (US$116 million), exactly $11 million (US$7.7 million) more for those agencies than when the Budget was first tabled.

    The total amount appropriated to the outer islands is $12,605,145 (US$8,905,689).

    The Speaker of Parliament, Tai Tura thanked all members for their hard work to get the Appropriation Bill through.

    When the Budget was first tabled in Parliament about a fortnight ago, Prime Minister Mark Brown labelled it as the “Budget of Revival”.

    Before speaking about this year’s Budget, Brown acknowledged the previous year’s spending and growth: “A record year for growth, a record year for tourism, a record year for business, a record year for clearing debt, and a record year for profit, for all of our people.

    “Then in March last year Covid reared its ugly head and we closed our borders to keep this killer out.”

    Referring to the Appropriation Bill before the House, the Prime Minister said: “This is a budget that will help get our country back on its feet, this is a budget that will help and encourage our business, it is a budget that will encourage innovation amongst our people, it is a budget that will ignite the spirit of our people and reclaim what we have lost by Covid.”

    When the Budget was tabled, on 08 June, Brown thanked the team that had prepared it.

    The Government predicted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 8.8 per cent for the fiscal year, which begins next month and runs through 30 June, 2022.

    GDP is expected to grow by a further 14.1 per cent in 2022-23, when it is expected the main tourism markets of New Zealand and Australia will return to historic levels, with other markets beginning to pick up.

    A further 7.3 per cent increase is projected in 2023-24.

    SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS