Chair of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

The Vincentian economy showed improved performance during the first five months of 2014, compared to the same period of 2013, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, however, repeated his warning that the nation is not yet “out of the woods”.

“Difficulties are still with us on many fronts even though we have seen an improvement in the overall fiscal situation,” he told a press conference.

He said the drought from January to May impacted farmers even more than the devastation caused by the trough system on Christmas Eve.

Total revenue and grants during the first five months of 2014 totalled EC$221.2 million compared to EC$199.2 million during the same period of 2013.

Total expenditure also registered an increase, rising 4.8 per cent to EC$227.76 million, up from EC$217.3 million during the 2013 period under review.

Recurrent expenditure increased by 3.8 per cent, moving from EC$197.4 million to EC$204.87 million.

At the same time, capital expenditure rose 15.2 per cent — from EC$19.9 million to EC$22.9 million.

The current balance shows a surplus of EC$12.56 million, compared to a deficit of EC$14.78 million. The overall balance, however, is a deficit of EC$6.6 million, compared to a deficit of EC$18.03 million in 2013.

Gonsalves said the current revenue has increased by “a sizeable sum” and his government has seen taxes on international trade increase by 1.6 per cent, while taxes on domestic transactions has increased by 6.3 per cent.

Revenue from valued-added tax has increased by 8.7 per cent. The increased revenue is an indication of increased economic activity and improved efficiency in administration of taxes, Gonsalves said.

He, however, said that interest, rent, and dividend had moved from EC$1.7 million in 2013 to EC$10.33 million in 2014

Meanwhile, other revenue moved from EC$5.6 million to EC$14 million in 2014. Gonsalves said this reflected some revenue received after the Christmas Eve disaster.

“So we see a general improvement over the same situation last year, but we are still not out of the woods and the fiscal situation remains challenging,” he said noting the additional expenses after the Christmas Eve trough system, which left EC$330 million — 17 per cent of GDP — in loss and damage.

He said the loss and damage after the storm was “a big blow”, followed by a drought during the first five months of 2014.

He said 12 inches of rain fell in some parts of the country during three hours on Christmas Eve, but only 20 inches fell from January to May, compare to the usual 45 inches.

Gonsalves said he has found that making public information about the performance of the economy “gives a good indication to the citizens as to how we are managing the fiscal situation and to alert them and business, workers, public servants, where we are and facilitating them as to where we are and to frame decision which they have to make”.

4 replies on “Vincentian economy improves but ‘difficulties are still with us’ –PM”

  1. What is this guy talking about? It is going to take SVG at least 15 years to get the economy back to the way it was in 2001, is this guy for real. Even if NDP go there today the country is going to be in the gutter for a while. Dr Ralph you need to stop with this nonsense and just be truthful and stop always trying to play politics.

    The financial mess that your governance has gotten us in is no joking matter. Where is this “growth” coming from, Agriculture? NO Tourism? NO Manufacturing? NO, It came from none of those sectors,so what are you talking about? the lives of people are not being affected for the better by these numbers you keep pulling out of the air. But time longer than twine en, and one day we will here the real numbers. OWN THE JAIL.

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    A trough system at the end of last year impacted the country in a very bad way. During the recovery effort we affected by a very long dry spell. This drought system according to the PM affected the farmers even more than the flood. So how in God’s name can the same PM saying that the first 5 months of this year is better in comparison to the same period last year? We must be very stupid in this country.

  3. I like to deceive myself that I am relatively intelligent; however, nothing that I have just read here makes any sense to me.
    These figures do not paint any sort of picture as they appear to be taken in silos.
    One thing does stand out however; if we lost 17% of GDP due to the storms, what sort of economic activity have we engaged in to produce a better fiscal standing relative to the same period last year?

  4. Peter Binose says:

    Urlan, Blane, gentlemen, you must be patient. Remember he is here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop, he told us that himself.

    He needs at least another term to get some further progress. We have the makings of a very pretty military airport, and golf course, now due to open in 2017.

    As for the figures I am sorry but I do not believe anything that he says or writes since he told is he is a liar. I will have to have those figure audited by the worlds top firm of auditors, before I even start to believe.

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