Financial Secretary Office News

Financial Secretary Office News

Cook Islands Government March 2018 Quarterly Financial Report

The Cook Islands Government (CIG) financial outcome for the March 2018 quarter is now available on the MFEM website below. (www.mfem.gov.ck)

Operating Balance
The net operating balance of the General Government sector for the nine months ending March 2018 resulted in an operating surplus of $26.19 million, $24.47 million higher than what was forecasted during the publication of the budget estimates.

This was largely driven by higher revenue collection (by $17.74 million) followed by saving in overall operating expenditure (by $6.73 million) for the reporting period.

Higher taxation collection accounted for $15.21 million of the variance in revenue collected, $6.73 million of this was from higher than estimated collection in company tax, a direct result of the tax amnesty program that came into effect during the year.

Saving in Administered payments of $6.25 million was the main contributing item to the favourable variance in operating expenditure. This was however due mainly to timing issue against the initial cash flow plan. The saving is expected to be reduced towards the end of the financial year when expenditures are due.

Fiscal Balance
The fiscal balance adjusted the net operating balance to take into account spending on capital items net of depreciation.

The overall fiscal balance for the reporting period was $17.71 million, which demonstrates a $51.34 million saving, mainly as a result of delays in capital/infrastructure implementation.

Spending on Te Mato Vai, Renewable energy projects in Aitutaki and Pa Enua and the Rarotonga Road Sealing Programme were amongst the list of projects that had experienced delays for various reasons. It is anticipated that various large capital projects will be reprogrammed into the new financial year.

This creates fiscal space for other important unforeseen projects that can be considered in the short term.

Financial Position
The CIG cash position is reported at $112.21 million, which represents only cash managed through the Ministry of Finance on behalf of general Government and does not include an estimated $8.09 million cash held directly by Ministries and other Crown agencies.

The CIG reported a gross debt of $100.04 million for the same period, this represents actual loans disbursed and adjusted for debt service repayments. Net Debt adjusts the Gross Debt for the effect of LRF held against those loans and the loans held on behalf of SOE’s. Net debt was reported at $56.82 million at the end of the reporting period.

The net position of the CIG demonstrate a healthy position at the end of the reporting period.

The MFEM will continue to monitor the performance of expenditures against the approved appropriation for the last quarter of the financial year.

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7 June 2018

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Operation Maravilla

On Thursday 3 May 2018 the Combined Law Agencies Group (CLAG) and others met with the Prime Minister. The purpose of the meeting was to finalise the departure of the Nino Maravilla (the vessel) and its crew from Aitutaki.

Operation Maravilla has been a collaborative inter agency operation between CLAG, the Australian Federal Police and the New Zealand Customs Service. The operation resulted in the collection of surveillance which led to the successful prosecution of three individuals connected to the vessel.

It was agreed the vessel and the crew must depart from Aitutaki and the Cook Islands as soon as possible. In order to affect this, Immigration have varied the entry permit of the crew to expire on Friday 11 May 2018. Customs and Crown Law are working with Little Matysik, lawyers for the owner of the vessel, to ensure that any supplies required for departure are provided prior to that date.

On 4 May 2018 a formal demand was made for payment of the costs incurred for the crew’s accommodation, food and medical care. Confirmation has been received that the owner has accepted responsibility for the payment for these costs. The berthing fees and associated repatriation costs of the crew have also been forwarded to Little Matysik for payment by the owner of the vessel. Payment of the court fines has already been received by Western Union.

CLAG would like to thank the Aitutaki Island Council and the people of Aitutaki for their patience and assistance during Operation Maravilla. A Rarotongan interpreter was a key part of the investigation and the assistance provided was greatly appreciated.

The success of this operation sends a very strong message that the Cook Islands is serious about protecting its borders and will engage with its international partners to ensure the safety of not just the Cook Islands, but the Pacific region as a whole.

Press Release - Government Vehicle Purchases 2017/18

In the 2017-18 budget, $400,000 was appropriated for the purchase of motor vehicles and other capital equipment.

This year’s vehicle purchases were considered in line with the Cook Islands Government Financial Policies and Procedures Manual (CIGFPPM) and the new Government Fleet Management Policy 2018 (Policy). The Policy was designed to ensure that government motor vehicles are identified, purchased, sold, and transferred in ways that support government operations, sustainability, and provide optimal value for money.

A total of 41 requests were received worth $870,780 from 14 different agencies. Of these 14 agencies, eight (8) agency applications were approved for a total of 23 motor vehicles at $371,234. The remainder of this fund will be used to cover shipping costs and additional insurance for vehicles that are to be purchased for the Pa Enua. The drawdown of the full $400,000 as recommended by the Capital Fund Committee (CFC) was approved by Cabinet on the 17 April 2018. The CFC members include the Financial Secretary, a Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) representative and takes advice from the Budget Support Group.

The CFC Secretariat will lead the procurement of all approved motor vehicle requests. The majority of vehicles will be bulk purchased via a Tender process to ensure value for money is obtained. A few job specific vehicles will be procured via a separate Quote process.

Vehicles being replaced will be recalled for disposal, sale or transfer where necessary.

The future government vehicle fleet will include electric vehicles. Some research is underway to determine when this should happen, and will be based upon costs savings over whole of life, reduction in emissions, and proven reliability.

For more information please call Taina Iro or Mercedes Tongia on 29511 or email taina.iro@cookislands.gov.ck or mercedes.tongia@cookislands.gov.ck

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