Premier orders cost cutting as government spending nears $1 billion

Civil service leaders have been told to help slash almost $50 million from the government’s budget by the end of the year as public spending creeps towards the $1 billion mark.

Premier and Finance Minister Wayne Panton, in an internal memo dated 11 Aug. seen by the Cayman Compass, instructed all chief officers to help find savings of $47.1 million, or 8.5% in forecast expenditure, for the remainder of the 2023 financial year.

Panton, in the memo to chief officers and financial officers and copied to Cabinet ministers, parliamentary secretaries and caucus members, said “hard decisions” would have to be made to “achieve affordable financial targets and ensure compliance with the principles of fiscal responsibility”.

In issuing his call for cost cutting, the premier said, based on the current run rate of actual operating expenditure as of 30 June 2023, “the Government is on the path of exceeding CI$1.0 billion in operating expenditure in 2023 with further growth in expenditure for the 2024 and 2025 budget years”.

The Compass has reached out to the Office of the Premier for comment on the memo and is awaiting a response.