KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has counted a second sparrow as this country hopes for an economic summer after at least three years’ winter.
“… the numbers look, compared to 2011, better; but, as I said when I answered in respect of January, … one swallow does not a summer make. And two swallows do not a summer make,” he told Parliament Monday in response to a question from Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.
“In the first month [of the year], we did not see a deficit. We see a deficit in the second but, compared to last year, there’s an improvement,” he further said of the fiscal outturns for the first two months of the year.
As of February this year, total revenue and grants was EC$58.9 million (US$21.81 million), compared to EC$70.39 million (US$26.07 million) year-on-year.
Current revenue was EC$58.59 million (US$21.70 million) while it was EC$66.70 million (US$24. 07 million) this year.
Capital revenue and grants, at the end of February, stood at EC$396,000 (US$146,667) while the figure was EC$3.67 million (US$1.36 million) year-on-year.
As of February 29, total expenditure in 2012 stood at EC$82.76 million (US$30.65 million) compared to EC$73.17 million (US$27.10 million) last year, while recurrent expenditure was EC$81.06 million (US$30.02 million) and EC$72.8 million (US$26.96 million) in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The current balance registered a deficit of EC$22.4 million (US$8.29 million), compared to a deficit of EC$6.1 million (US$2.26 million) last year even as the overall balance, after grants, was EC$23.17 million (US$8.58 million) and EC$2.78 million (US$1.03 million), respectively.
“So an improvement compared to last year. But, again, I caution, and given the volatility which exist. But we are always trying to mix, as we say, prudence and enterprise,” Gonsalves told lawmakers.
He said that on the recurrent expenditure side, there was a 28.5 per cent decline in interest while there was a 28.7 per cent decrease in transfers and subsidies.
“So we are trying to hold the statutory enterprises on a tight leash,” Gonsalves said.
The local economy declined for the three years ending 2010, and was the only one among 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that the International Monetary Fund said would record negative growth in 2011, even as the government said there would be 0.4 per cent growth.