The disaster levy, funded by a 1 per cent levy on consumption and an EC$8 per night charge on accommodation for visitors, has generated EC$12.6 million to the Contingencies Fund in its first year.
“We are pleased to report that, as of December 2018, we have saved $12.6 million in this Fund for disaster-related contingencies,” Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, said in his Budget Address on Monday.
“Never before in the history of independent Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have we managed to explicitly set aside such resources for a rainy day,” Gonsalves said of the fund, which is to be used to mitigate against and adopt to climate change and to finance related infrastructural development.
He said that in 2019, funded by an ongoing 1 per cent disaster levy on consumption, and supplemented by the Climate Resilience Levy on visitor accommodations, the government is anticipating that the Contingency Fund will receive an additional EC$12.5 million.
“While this number remains small in the face of the multi-billion potential of a major natural disaster, it is nonetheless significant,” the minister said.
“If we are blessed with continued good fortune, in the near term, the Contingency Fund will be a reliable, home-grown cushion against natural disasters.”
He said the fund will also stand as an important signal to the international community that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is committed to playing a leading role in our own disaster preparation and recovery.
“This year, in anticipation of continued growth in the Contingency Fund, we will elaborate a set of rules and procedures governing the access and management of the Fund’s resources,” the minister said.