Gonsalves: Budget for the times
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves today presented estimates for a EC$793.9 (US$294 million) budget to Parliament saying it is “fashioned to respond to the current economic circumstances and the strategic path” which his administration has chosen for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The budget for 2012 is made up as follows: recurrent expenditure plus amortisation and sinking funds contributions EC$528.6 million (US$195.7 million) and capital expenditure of EC$184.9 million (US$68.4 million)” Gonsalves said.
The Prime Minister, who will present his budget statement on January 9, next year, told legislators that the country should also experience a two per cent growth next year.
Gonsalves, who is also the Finance Minister, said the estimates for the 2012 fiscal year represent an increase of 0.7 per cent or EC$7.4 million (US$2.7 million) over the approved budget for 2011.
“It (the budget) balances restraint on the recurrent side with well-targeted capital projects, aimed at increasing economic activity in the key sectors of the economy,” he told legislators.
“As we approach 2012, I urge all managers and heads of departments to pay closer attention to controlling cost, raising their work effort and increasing output,” he said.
Gonsalves said that everyone “must work harder to make the public service a more efficient and effective organisation.
“These estimates are sound; they are fit for the times. They combine prudence and enterprise for the development of this country and its people,” said Gonsalves, noting that the small increase in this year’s estimates is due to a 4.7 per cent increase in planned capital spending while the recurrent expenditure budget remains “relatively stable”, registering a marginal decline of 0.1 per cent or EC$820,000 (US$303,703).
The Prime Minister said that expenditure is to be financed by current revenue of EC$507.3 million (US$187.8 million) and capital receipt of EC$286.5 million (US$106.1 million).
The current account is expected to run a deficit of EC$29.3 million, a 21.8 per cent fall year-on-year that Prime Minister Gonsalves said is expected to be achieved “through prudent budgetary measures”. (CMC)