The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April saw a one-fifth decline of its revenue Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Tuesday.
Speaking on WE FM, Gonsalves said that his government was able to pay salaries to all central government employees on that day despite the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just want that point to be made even though in this month though I don’t have the final outturn yet on my desk, the officials in the Ministry of Finance they basically think that it would be in the order of one-fifth loss of revenue,”
He said that the figure could he higher than that, but 20% was what the officials were working with “in terms of an estimated loss because they didn’t have all the numbers in centrally.
“So despite a significant drop in revenues for the month, we have paid all salaries on time,” the prime minister said.
He said that his government, on Friday, paid out over EC$500,000 to about 150 workers and farmers in the arrowroot industry.
“That’s in the small geographic area of Sandy Bay, Owia and Fancy,” the prime minister said.
For yet another year, the government has had to bail out the arrowroot industry amidst problems with the processing of the crop, even as over 500,000 lbs of starch remain in storage.
Gonsalves said that all the matters addressed by the EC$74 million supplementary budget Parliament approved on April 7 are on the way.
“I just want to mention that too so that persons will know all the grants of one kind or another. The PRYME (Promoting Youth Micro Enterprises) the non-PRYME for small businesses, the issues regarding the 500 additional persons down at Social Development for an interim sum of $200 per month to the end of the year. All the money is in the Minister of Agriculture to farmers and workers for farmers and fisherfolk.”
Gonsalves said he had received a report that morning from Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar about the livestock that is to be distributed as part of the stimulus package.
“Camillo’s supposed to make a statement … about all the matters and how we’re proceeding and one by one,” the prime minister said, referring to Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves.
The government later announced on Tuesday that the finance minister will hold a press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday morning.
The prime minister said that the National Insurance Services is collecting data and addressing the issue of the payments of unemployment benefits for which the government put the legislation in place on April 7.
“These are all things which are done. That’s recently you know, just in case people forget what has been the situation and the way in which we have responded,” Gonsalves said.