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Plan for productive sectors

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Plan for productive sectors

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Prime Minister of St Vincent Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has presented an EC$1.11 billion (US$371) budget to Parliament vowing to stimulate the productive sectors as well as strengthen the fiscal and financial stability of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Gonsalves, who presented the fiscal package on Monday night, also outlined new tax measures.
The 2011 budget shows an overall deficit of EC$105.06 million (US$35.02 million). The 2011 Estimates of Expenditure, which was approved last week shows recurrent revenue estimated at EC$504.75 million (US$168 million) and recurrent expenditure at EC$609.81million (US$203 million). Gonsalves told legislators that last year, the budget, “on the face of it, had a current account deficit of $20.5 million (US$7.5 million).
The actual out turn for the Budget, however, was a current account surplus of $1.3 million (US$481,000). “Iindeed, there was an overall surplus on the central government’s accounts of $12.5 million (US$4.62 million) compared to a $55 million (US$20.3 million) deficit in 2009 on the combined current and central accounts of the Government. “In other words, the Government was in 2010 most careful in its management of its resources, at once prudent and enterprising. In the current fiscal year, 2011, a current account deficit of $27 million (US$10 million) is budgeted.”
Gonsalves, whose ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) was returned to power by a slender one-seat majority in last December’s general election, said that his government’s overall fiscal strategy for 2011 will focus primarily on stimulation of the productive sectors in order to return the economy to its growth trajectory.
“We are looking to the private sector to play a more dynamic role in this process and have accordingly devised a number of new measures to provide the necessary incentives,” he said, adding that an equally important focus for 2011 will be on strengthening the fiscal and financial stability. (CMC)