Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Parliament, on Wednesday, began debating Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2020, amounting to EC$1.2 billion, which includes a 2% salary increase for public workers and several new job openings.

The EC$1,186,351,151 fiscal package, announced by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, represents an increase of 11.2% over the EC$1.067 billion budget approved for 2019.

The budget is made up of recurrent expenditure inclusive of amortisation and sinking fund contributions of EC$875,583,941 and capital expenditure of EC$310,767,210.

The budget will be financed by current revenue of EC$680,039,100 and capital receipts of EC$505,312,051.

Current expenditure, exclusive of amortisation and sinking fund contributions is EC$678,033,515, while current revenue is EC$680,039,100.

“As a consequence, there is a modest current account surplus of $2 million in these estimates,” the minister said.

Current revenue amounts to EC$680 million — 306% or EC$25 million higher than in 2019.

“The improved revenue performance in 2020 is reflective of predicted real economic growth projected for the year and stronger and more efficient efforts by the main revenue agencies, to collect taxes that are due and payable,” Gonsalves said.

He noted the passage, last December, of the Tax Administration Procedures Act and other regulations, adding that the government hopes these will increase the efficiencies of revenue and tax collection.

He said that revenue from non-tax sources is expected to contribute EC$585.5 million to the government coffers while non-tax revenue is expected to bring in a further EC$94.4 million.

Tax revenue is expected to grow by 3% with all the major tax types expected to contribute as follows: taxes from income from profits, an increase of EC$3.4 million or 2.1%; taxes on goods and services —  EC$9.2million (5%); taxes on international trade and transactions — EC$5 million (3.2%).

Non-tax revenue is expected to contribute EC$94.4 million, a 7% increase over the 2019 budgeted amount.

Of this amount, sales of goods and services is projected to generate EC$78.3 million, while revenue from non-tax sources is expected to see inflows from property income of EC$10.4 million, and other revenue of EC$10.2 million in taxes.

Recurrent expenditure inclusive of amortisation and sinking fund contributions has been estimated at EC$875.6 million, 3.6% or EC$30.8 million higher than 2019.

Current expenditure is estimated at EC$678 million, amortisation — EC$152.5 million and sinking fund contributions — $45 million.

Compared to 2019, current expenditure is expected to increase by 3.45%, amortisation by 11.1% and sinking funds contributions fall by 13.3%.

The finance minister said wages and salaries see an increase of EC$11.1 million or 3.6%, while other transfers increase by EC$700,000 or 0.6%.

Recurrent expenditure by economic categories sees compensation of employees accounting for EC$330.1 million; pensions, E$60,2 million; other transfers, EC$124 million, debt service EC$267.9 million; debt servicing, 267.9 million; and goods and service of EC$93.2 million — for a total of 875.6.

The government is estimating paying out EC$269.7 million in wages and salaries, allowances of EC$24.8 million, wages of EC$23.1 million, employees’ National Insurance Services (NIS) contribution of EC$12.5 million, and rewards and incentive of about EC$100,000  — for a total EC$330.2 million.

Gonsalves said the 2020 budget for wages and salaries is 3.6% higher than the approved amount for 2019, with this year’s 2% salary increase for government workers as the main contributor to the higher amount.

This year, the government’s allocation for the payment of pensions and government’s counterpart contribution to the NIS for civil servants is EC$72.6 million.

The amount is comprised of pension of EC$60.1 million and NIS contributions of EC$12.5 million.

The minister said retirement benefits continue to be the single fastest-growing item of recurrent expenditure.

He said, this year, the government plans to start public consultations on a variety of options that it is proposing.

Gonsalves thanked the unions and members of the labour movement for a “useful consultation” that they held with him and Minister of Labour Saboto Caesar a few days earlier.

“I thought that the meeting demonstrated by all members of the labour movement an understanding that the current pension arrangements are unsustainable and an understanding that lengthy public discourse is necessary for the public to be made aware of the various options for them to provide new options of their own and for us to have a robust and mature conversation about what is required going forward in the area of pension reform.”

As of December 31, 2019, the public debt stood at EC$1,670,664,447.

This was 0.8% more than the total disbursed outstanding debt for the comparative period of 2018.

The total domestic debt amounted to EC$494.7 million, 14.2% or EC$81.9 million less than in 2018.

The external debt was EC$1.176 billion, an increase of 8.8% or EC$95.6 million compared to 2018.

The debate continues.

4 replies on “Salary increase, more jobs in $1.12b budget”

  1. Nobody ain’t stupid to believed that [***]. You all there for so many years and don’t create none, so is now you want to create jobs, because election coming? You all need to go. No more promised. Just go.

  2. Lol god said to tell yall…yall time over ..in a Dubai shower ah post this yah …lol n jesus christ say fi stop call him […] name cuss he dont […] with u..that’s if he was to exist…ulpkilla

  3. Government creating jobs in government departments just does not count any pratt can do that.

    This is quite obviously a BS pre-election pretend giveaway. 2% on some wages simply is far less than real inflation, the people need 30% increase. But unlike the false promise of 2001 a real increase.

    The thing about figures they can be massaged to say anything you want. The Marxist monster Walter Rodney of Grenada practiced financial fraud with his lying figures and Ralph Gonsalves has adopted the work of Maurice Bishop, he told us so.

  4. How did we Vincentians get to this? There is a sentiment that goes something like this; we pay our money and we gets to choose but with the Gonsalves family in charge of all things Vincentian, we pay our money but it is they, and not us, who gets to choose. Funny thing that how it works.

    Their choices however, are the same choices as is in Cuba, Venezuela and all the other Champagne socialist states that had failed the people. They entails big bureaucratic governments, so loved by these Champagne socialist. Wages gobbles up half the Tax revenue cash and the rest, your guess is as good as mine. One academic call the advocates’ Swiss bank socialist for obvious reasons.

    With the Gonsalves family running SVG, we have to put up with all forms of scarcities. Scarcities of resources from Hospital linen to broken essential fittings and never-ending potholes in the nation’s roads. A slum-like living environment, rat infested schools to lack of environmental security.

    The state of the roads in the Grenadines island of Bequia for example is a disgrace, so too are those here on this mainland, for the very reason that the competition for scarce resources with the Government wage bill and other expenditures, for the same scarce resources is sure acute when added to servicing of loan borrowing and their repayment.

    Yet one would think that any sensible administration would readjust their governing strategy. Moreover, it is quite obvious that the Karl Marxian political economy ideology is hurting the Vincentian people who are out of work because of the lack of private sector employment, but no, this family is not for the turning, no matter how much the economy tanks.

    Vincentians are just too stupid they tell us to want a change in their administration. They tell us this as they assume those Vincentians who went abroad to seek a better life, all end up doing no better than they did at home, as they are all there living hand to mouth in the UK , Canada and the USA. Scrunting for lack of work!

    The PAPA and his extended family like the Castro’s are here to stay. Why? Because they are the brightest among us, not only here in SVG but when compared with others throughout the whole of the Caribbean, they have proved to be the wisest. Therefore Vincentians, they say, be thankful for your lot in life. We have a political and economic genius and his family at the country’s helm and they are looking out for our best interest. To which Vincentians ought to be most grateful!

    They will take us poor and destitute, dunce and fragile descendants of African Slaves who cannot help ourselves to that long desired Promised Land, where all Taxes will be summarily abolished, a land of plenty, where each will receive according to need and not according to greed and where Swiss banks will no longer be needed and the Rum, Beer and Champagne will be endlessly served by automated robots. BUT are the Gonsalves Correct?

    The Case Against Socialism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP_YoMURElA

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