In keeping with the statements contained in his New Year’s Message, the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, has advised His Excellency the Governor to add responsibility for financial stability to the Ministerial portfolio of the Hon Sir Joe Bossano MP KCMG.
The Chief Minister said: ‘I stated in my New Year’s Message that I would be asking the Governor to appoint Sir Joe as Minister with responsibility for financial stability. I have now done so. I look forward to working with Sir Joe, my Cabinet colleagues and the Financial Secretary, Albert Mena, in casting a post-pandemic and post-Brexit Budget for our nation for coming years that will be designed to ensure our long term financial stability and the regeneration and sustainability of the excellent public services that the Government provides for the community. Our next Budget, which will be in early summer, will provide an excellent opportunity for the Parliament to debate the measures we will propose for this basis in our Estimates for the Financial Year 2021 to 2022.’
The Hon Sir Joe Bossano, KCMG, MP, said: ‘I am working already on the measures the Chief Minister and I will propose to the Cabinet in order to put our post COVID and post Brexit Budgets on a firm footing. It will be a very challenging time financially for our community as the last year has destroyed government revenues around the world, even in the oil producing states. Every nation on the planet is facing a serious challenge and we are no better and no worse than all others. We have a responsibility to put our public finances back on a firm footing quicker than others though, and we have already held an Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting this week, which the Chief Minister called and Chaired at my request, in order to ensure that we waste no time at all in getting our finances back on track from the extraordinary costs of the past twelve months.’
Note to editors: Extract from the relevant part of the Chief Minister’s New Year Message 2021.
The first part of this year will also require the negotiation of the UK/EU Treaty on Gibraltar. It will also be the time to cast a new Budget as we emerge from this 24 month financial year at the end of March.
We have been able to withstand and finance the cost of the pandemic. The sovereign guarantee of £500m from the UK will make it easier to finance aspects of it also. But we must be more careful and diligent than ever in how we cast future spending.
I have therefore asked Sir Joe Bossano to take on additional Ministerial responsibility for financial stability.
This will mean that Joe will be working with me on the long term stability of the public finances and helping with the casting of future Budgets.
In a post COVID, post BREXIT world, this is the only way we will be able to assure the political security of Gibraltar and its economic and financial stability. I therefore expect everyone will support us in this endeavour.
Our manifesto was written to be delivered despite Brexit, but not despite COVID. So it is important that we confirm that we will do what we can and what we need to do from that manifesto. But I want to be clear with you now that we will not do all the things that we set out to do. It will just not be possible in this post COVID financial world.
The economic and financial stability of Gibraltar MUST come first.’