The Vincentian improved during the first half of this year, compared to the same period of 2012, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament last week.
“Mr. Speaker, for the first half of this year, the fiscal situation has improved, compared to last year. The performance is better, but still, there are challenges and we are still suffering from the impact of the global crisis — global economic crisis, and from all the sets of challenges which have beset us in the area of the insurance field, the meltdown of BAICO, the natural disasters we have had, … the WTO decisions in relation to bananas, change in market conditions, and the market regime — all of the various things which we know about and talk about,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.
He said that total revenue and grants registered a 10.4 per cent increase, moving from EC$223.5 million between January and June 2012 to EC$246.87 million during the same period of 2013.
Current revenue, at EC$221.9 million this year, was 1.3 per cent more than in 2012, when it was EC$219.1 million.
Capital revenue and grants jumped from EC$4.4 million in 2012 to EC$24.86 million this year.
Total expenditure increased by 9.9 per cent, moving from EC$249.8 million last year to EC$274.6 million in 2013.
Gonsalves said recurrent expenditure remained “basically stable with a slight decline” of 0.7 per cent. The figure stood at EC$335.5 million in 2012 and moved to EC$233.8 million this year.
Capital revenue showed a significant change: EC$14.2 million in 2012 and EC$41 million in 2013.
The current balance was a deficit of EC$12 million last year and EC$15.5 million in 2013 — a 27 per cent change.
Meanwhile, the overall balance remained “roughly the same,” the Finance Minister said.
In 2012, it was EC$27.8 million and EC$26.28 million in 2013.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasise that in this area of the recurrent expenditure, personal emoluments continue to rise — 3 per cent more than last year, and wages, 7.5 per cent more,” Gonsalves told Parliament.
“I should say that the wages would have gone up to the extent that it did because of some bullet payments,” he further said.
“In relation to the revenues, we need to do much better on the revenues, as we said, the current revenue went up by 1.37 per cent.”
Gonsalves told Parliament that there is a 3 per cent fall in the taxes on international trade but on domestic transactions, there was an increase of 7.7 per cent.
“So that is the story, improvements but still, we have our challenges,” he said.