Government revenue in the first seven months of this year was higher than the comparative period in both 2020 and 2019.
Total revenue and grants for Jan. 1 to July 31 was EC$427.3 million, compared to EC$345 million last year and EC$351 million in 2019.
“Remember there was some slippage last year compared to 2019 but our increase this year over last year on total revenue and grants is 23.7%,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on NBC Radio on Wednesday, as he announced the data.
Current revenue, which does not include grants, was EC$381.9 million, compared to EC$336 million in 2020.
“That is to say, we have the revenue doing better by about 46 million – 13.5% better than last year,” Gonsalves said.
“What helped a lot in these last seven months is Alien Land Holding Licence and Stamp Duty on property transfers. We had some significant transactions, rich people selling rich people in Mustique and COVID seems to have sent the prices higher. Some of the prices which they are paying for some properties are just incredible.
“And when I had increased the percentage on the Alien Landholding Licence, they say that – it was said I would see a fall in revenue, that I am killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Well, I apply my judgement and whose judgement has been borne out as being correct to history, to our benefit?” the prime minister commented.
He said that the revenue from taxes on goods and services had fallen 5.5%
“The variation is not so significant there.”
Taxes on international trade had increased by nearly 4%.
Sales on goods and services such as IFSA and drivers licenses, Customs Service Charge all combined went up by 4.1%, Gonsalves said, without disaggregation.
On May 1, the Customs Service Charge moved from 5% to 6% — a 20% increase.
Total expenditure went up in the seven months by 11.2% and current expenditure by 3%, Gonsalves said, adding that the government had spent EC$477 million during the 2021 period, inclusive of salaries and services.
Compensation to employees increased by 4.7% and capital expenditure by 70% — from EC$53 million to EC$92 million.
There was a deficit on the current account of EC$3.6 million, compared to nearly EC$39 million last year and EC$20 million in 2019.
The primary balance, which was EC$43 million in the negative last year, is just a deficit of EC$14 this year, the prime minister said.
“And the overall balance, which was EC$75 million last year, negative, is EC$43 million this year — manageable in the circumstances. Still pressure, but manageable,” Gonsalves said.
He further stated:
“That is my report card and everybody turns up for their salary they’re getting it and the projects, which we have, are going on.”