Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will present to Parliament on Dec. 9, the estimates of income and expenditure for 2014, he told a press conference on Monday.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, further said at a press conference that the Appropriations Bill will be presented in Parliament on Jan. 20, 2014.
“Last week, the whole week, I spent dealing with the Estimates. We are putting together everything in the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
“In the Estimates, I will have some special money for the farmers; some innovative things, as we build the infrastructure,” he further said.
He listed some of the infrastructural development projects underway or scheduled to begin soon.
“We still don’t have enough economic growth, because of the pressures from outside, the limitations of our economy. Then, we have to make sure we control the expenditure; we have to make sure we collect what revenues we have to collect. But, there are challenges all the time but we are holding it and we are going forward and I report to you as we make our progress,” he said.
Gonsalves said that as Christmas approaches, 70 additional persons will be employed at the Port Authority, where there is expected to be a spike in the number of barrels imported, as the duty free exemption for “Christmas barrels” continues for a 13th consecutive year.
He further said that 50 additional houses will be build in the Central Kingstown community of Green Hill, and 10 persons are expected to work on each house.
Further, EC$2.5 million has been allocated for the Christmas road-cleaning programme, and a further EC$1 million for the road-patching programme.
“Now is the time for me to make sure that persons who depend on a little 10 days [of work] to help them around Christmas time, even though some of them may do a little farming in between, some may be housewives, you know how that goes…” he said.
Gonsalves further noted that his Government paid public to servants in October the 1.5 per cent salary increase owed to public servants since January 2011.
He said the boards of directors of the relevant state entities will arrange to pay their employees the 1.5 per cent increase.
“We are hoping that the hotel in Canouan will be at least opened for a soft opening for Christmas,” he said of the resort there, which he added will be among the top two or three hotels in the world.
“It is extraordinary,” Gonsalves said, adding that work on the EC$652 million international export, slated to be completed late next year, continues and that a further EC$10 million from an initial loan from Venezuela should be disbursed soon.
Gonsalves in January presented an EC$799.1 million budget for 2013, outlining increased taxes and predicting economic growth this year.