PROVINCE RELEASES SECOND QUARTER REPORT FOR 2016-17 FISCAL YEAR
Finance Minister Cameron Friesen today released Manitoba’s second quarter report for the 2016-17 fiscal year, citing pressures in Crown corporations and social services for an increase to the forecast summary deficit.
Manitoba’s forecast summary deficit is $1.004 billion, an increase of $93 million from the projected $911-million deficit in Budget 2016, the minister noted.
A decrease in projected net income of government business enterprises, primarily from Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and Manitoba Hydro, combined with expenditure growth in social services, are key factors in the projected net loss for the 2016-17 fiscal year, he added.
“Our government remains committed to fixing the finances of our province, which for too long has seen unsustainable growth in spending and a lack of fiscal discipline under the previous administration within core government and Crown corporations,” said Friesen. “We must do better if we are to ensure that all Manitobans are able to continue accessing the programs and services they rely upon. Work toward Budget 2017 continues with a focus on prudent financial management and the protection of services.”
The second quarter report reflects a projected deterioration of $96 million in the net income of government business enterprises as compared to Budget 2016.
“Our government is leading by example to ensure that Manitoba returns to a firm fiscal foundation and we expect Manitoba’s Crown corporations to demonstrate the same commitment to fiscal sustainability through a careful and considered analysis of their operations going forward,” said Friesen.
Targeted initiatives will provide the framework that will determine the government’s pursuit of efficient use of resources and effective delivery of services, Friesen said. Initiatives underway include the Fiscal Performance Review, the Health Sustainability and Innovation Review, streamlining of management within the civil service and a return-on-investment test to prioritize government investments in infrastructure, the minister noted.
Recently returned from the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Finance Meeting in Ottawa, the minister highlighted the impact of a looming dramatic decrease in the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) escalator as a significant concern as Manitoba prepares for Budget 2017.
A forecast $873 million for debt servicing continues to impact the government’s ability to invest in priority areas such as health care, education, social services and infrastructure projects, Friesen noted.
“We cannot ignore the realities of Manitoba’s challenging economic climate, but with targeted initiatives in place, we are confident that our province is moving toward balance in a responsible and sustainable way.”