15 Jul 2011

Withholding tax added to new Cooks budget

2:53 pm on 15 July 2011

The Cook Islands Acting Finance Secretary says the government has had to make some tough decisions in setting its budget.

The 2011-2012 national budget is 172 million New Zealand dollars, or 145 US dollars - an increase of about 27 million dollars over the previous year's esitmate.

Priscilla Maruariki says to pass the new budget was a difficult task as revenue has not increased significantly.

"Government has had to prioritise its spending in this appropriation process on providing money towards economic investments. So not much money has been provided for other discretionary expenditures like overheads and all that. Also our growth estimates are conservative - are realistic. Although we expect higher levels of growth in tourism for the purposes of projecting economic growth over the year and going forward."

Priscilla Maruariki says the government has shied away from cutting ministry budgets for fear of potential job cuts but has reintroduced a 15 percent withholding tax on interest accrued in bank accounts across the country.