Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN St. Vincent – Persons responsible for the implementation of this year’s EC$793.9 million budget have been told to stick to the number.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, during the budget debate wrap-up on Friday, said his government has to implement the budget “sensibly” and be focused with the capital programmes.

The budget comprises recurrent expenditure, inclusive of Amortization and Sinking Fund contributions, of EC$528.7 million and capital expenditure of EC$184.9 million.

“The members who are present here will tell you that at the last cabinet meeting, the Minister of Social Development came to me privately and said, ‘PM, I am under pressure from some of the reps where they want to put down more persons that the 500 which we budgeted for in respect of the [Youth Empowerment Service] programmes’,” Gonsalves told Parliament.

EC$2.8 has been budgeted for that programmes this year.

“And I told my colleagues that we must stay within what we budget for. If you go over that, it means that by October or November you’ll have to come to me for a special warrant and because of the uncertainties on the global front, I don’t want us on these matters to be other than focused and disciplined,” he said.

“So we have the budget; we put the numbers together and we follow the numbers. … And that is the discipline which we have to exhibit in going forward,” Gonsalves further stated.

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