Grenada facing major budget cuts
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – Members of the Finance Committee in the House of Representatives were told to prepare for major expenditure cuts in the budget for 2021.
It’s reported that during a town hall meeting late Wednesday, the committee was informed that the budget of several government ministries would be reduced due to a drop in revenue that was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the first time in six years that we can say we are having a serious problem with raising revenue. We are going through a tough time with this pandemic, it’s a tough time indeed, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced in a town hall meeting held in the parish of St David on Wednesday night.
The 2021 annual estimate of Revenue and Expenditure will be the first to be presented by Gregory Bowen who became the Finance Minister following a cabinet reshuffle in September, but which became effective on October 5.
A date is yet to be announced for its presentation but traditional it’s normally done the last Friday in November.
“The Minister of finance at a Finance Committee meeting today in preparation for budget demonstrated that we have to cut some of the expenditures we normally do because revenue has dropped. Friends that is life and I want our people to understand this,” Dr Mitchell told the meeting that was aired live using social media platforms.
The Finance Committee is a Parliamentary Committee in the Lower House or House of Representatives which must give formal input in finalising the annual budget. It is chaired by the Minister for Finance, and the members are all the elected members in Lower House of Parliament.
Mitchell who previously served as Finance Minister explained to the Town hall meeting that the drop in revenue will affect Central Government’s fulfil all demands placed on Government despite increasing request.
“Because you get the impression, although some hear us saying revenue has dropped you getting more and more demand for services. Understand that if our revenue has dropped our expectation must drop to some extent,” he said while giving the assurance that Government will not cut expenditure in areas where people need government help.
“Where we have to make the cuts will be doing so in areas where we feel the country can withstand that cut that we will be making. We cannot ask the guy who is already suffering, who is marginalised to take the pressure in terms of hardship, he must be given Government support more than any other group,” the Prime Minister said. (CMC)