The accounting firm of KPMG will on Thursday present an overview the 2015 Budget at a luncheon organised in conjunction with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC).
The presentation will highlight aspects of the budget that are of particular interest to the business community, the CIC said in a brief statement.
“It will look at the budget in the context of regional economies and provide an analysis of economic and other performance indicators. It will also present a sectoral review of the major areas addressed in the budget and the implications for doing business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the region,” the private sector grouping said.
Parliament in early February approved an EC$971 million fiscal package comprised of EC$675 million of current expenditure and EC$296.3 million of capital expenditure.
The government said Recurrent Revenue is EC$532.3 million, and capital revenue, EC$439 million.
There was a deficit of EC$142 million.
In presenting the Budget, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ralph Gonsalves spoke of issues relating to the private sector.
He called on private businesses to join with the Government in a private-public partnership to operate the fishing complexes, including the Kingstown Fish Market, as viable commercial enterprises.
“I thank the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce which only last week confirmed to me their deep interest in partnering with the government in the operations of the Kingstown Fish Market,” Gonsalves said in the Budget Address, presented in Parliament on Jan. 28.
Gonsalves also spoke of the monies his government owes to the private sector and the private sector’s arrears to the government, a situation that the IMF highlighted in late 2014.
“In some cases where the private sector creditor and debtor in its relationship to the Government are one and the same, an exchange of cheques is a sensible solution. In other cases, the Government must pay its private sector debts; and those who owe the Government the properly-levied taxes, including arrears, must pay also,” he told Parliament.
Gonsalves said that over EC$$200 million is owed to the Treasury in tax arrears, interest and penalties.
“The Government owes the domestic private sector approximately $18 million. I am determined to have all these outstanding sums owed, on both sides, satisfied. It would be a boon to both the private sector and the fiscal condition of the government,” he said.
He also said that in 2015 the state-owned social security agency, the National Insurance Services, will institute a focussed programme of collecting contribution arrears, including for the private sector, which stands at EC$8.1 million.