Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ralph Gonsalves will on Dec. 17 ask lawmakers to approve Estimates of Income and Expenditure of EC$969 million for 2015, paving the way for the Budget Debate in January.
“The total budget for 2015 will be about 969 million dollars — 560 million dollars for current expenditure, 112 [million dollars] for amortisation and sinking fund contributions,” Gonsalves said Wednesday on his new radio programme “Ask Prime Minister”.
He said the capital budget for 2015 will be EC$296 million.
“On the current account, as I had indicated … two years ago, we will run a deficit on the current account for a short period of time. The debt will begin to fall in 2016 — God’s willing we don’t have anymore storm humbugging us,” Gonsalves said.
“The deficit will be less than last year,” he said, nothing that the deficit was EC$40 million then.
“This year [it] is going to be 27 million dollars,” he said, adding, “The circumstances are challenging but we are holding things together and going forward.”
Gonsalves told journalists last month that in relation to the recurrent estimates, “there is a little difference here, a little difference there, this focus in terms of personnel and so on and so forth”.
He illustrated, saying that his government will hire 20 more police officers to provide security at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the Ministry of Health having fired the private security firm.
Gonsalves also said that the 2015 Budget will contain “a strong housing programme”.
The housing programme will include the state-owned Housing and Land Development Corporation’s (HLDC) low- and middle-income houses, the continued rehabilitation of houses after the December 2013 trough system, and corrective works to poorly constructed houses the HLDC built in Clare Valley.
He said the Budget will also contain a small amount of money for the respond to earth movements which displayed homeowners in Gibson Corner some 15 years ago.
The 2015 Budget will also contain “significant monies” for health because of the 10th Europe Development Fund, allocated to the moderation of the health sector.
Transport and Work will also get a sizeable chunk of the Budget.
“And naturally, under transport and work, you include the airport, because there is still work to be done on the airport,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Transport and Works
He noted that monies for the Ministry of Transport and Works will also include funds for the restoration of roads and bridges.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the Estimates will be presented on Dec. 14. They will be presented on Dec. 17.