The DFID Budgetary Aid Mission (BAM) comprising team members, Senior Economic Adviser, Doug Winslow, Senior Social Development Adviser, Mary Thompson and St Helena Programme Manager, David Finan depart the Island tomorrow (6 November 2014) having held discussions for agreeing a three year budget for St Helena.

The team were joined on-Island by DFID Resident Representative, Morgan Riley and during their time here met with key SHG Officials and other stakeholders including Elected Members, Enterprise St Helena, Council Committees, the Hotel Development Group, Safeguarding Board and Bank of St Helena Board.

The purpose of the mission was to discuss budget performance and related policies in this financial year, and the next 3-year budget envelope.

The team were also able to review a full 3-year forecast, departmental policy priorities and spending plan and discuss opportunities to increase domestic revenue, retention and recruitment issues, use of Technical Cooperation, and the RMS St Helena budget.

Chief Secretary, Roy Burke said:

“The process this year has started much earlier in the year and we have a lot more work to do before we can reach an agreed settlement – that will happen early in 2015.  Helpfully, we are looking at a 3-year horizon which will help SHG in planning terms.  I am grateful to the BAM team and all staff in SHG as well as Councillors who have put in an enormous amount of work over the past week.”

Councillor Lawson Henry added:

“This was the second time for me to be involved in the discussions with our partners from DFID on the Budgetary Aid Mission. The process was started earlier this year and as already indicated there is still much work to do after the team leaves to reach a settlement.  I am grateful for the support the Councillors have had from Officers in SHG and ESH and also the BAM team, not only for their support but their understanding of the many challenges St Helena still face in the run up to our Airport opening and beyond.  I wish the team a safe voyage back to UK and look forward to continuing the dialogue over the coming months.   

“While I understand the financial challenges that Britain itself still faces I hope our settlement for the next year and beyond help us to cope with the challenges that lie ahead and that the huge investment in the Airport and its long-term goal is not compromised.”

Chief Executive for Economic Development, Niall O’Keeffe concluded:

“It has been a constructive visit from our perspective and I would like to thank the BAM team and their colleagues in DFID for the ongoing support of Enterprise St Helena. The meeting with the Board of ESH was particularly useful thanks to the preparation and hard work of the Board members and my colleagues in ESH and SHG.”

BAM discussions commenced earlier this year to allow for closer DFID engagement on a range of policy issues and for DFID to complete the standard Business Case approval process for the settlement.

The BAM did not produce an agreed budget settlement or an Aide Memoire but during this month will produce a short summary of key findings and follow-up actions required to finalise the budget aid settlement.

The settlement will be finalised in February 2015.

SHG

5 November 2014

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