The economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines performed better this January than it did in 2021, but has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
In January, the government collected EC$47.4 million in revenue and grants, compared to EC$38.4 million last year, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said.
In January 2020, the figure was EC$54 million.
“So we are about four million below the 2020 number but much better than last year. And we end up with a good primary balance at the end of 2.7 million at the end of January, but not as good as in 2020 but much better than last year January,” he said.
“On all the revenue items, we see a boost compared with last year but…” the prime minister further said.
He said that his government was expecting significant growth this year.
“… but, of course, there are downside risks,” he said, mentioning the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters, and implementation of the capital budget and the global political economy.
Gonsalves mentioned the Russo-Ukrainian conflict among the developments affecting the global political economy.
He said that his government on Tuesday wrapped up the Article IV consultation with the International Monetary Fund.
“That report will go to the IMF Board. We had a very good discussion because they recognise the two difficult years and they appreciate how we have been dealing with this matter; that we have been handling it pretty well, though we have challenges.”
Gonsalves noted that in January 2021, he was “very concerned, worried” that if the economy would have continued to perform as it had that month, the government would have been unable to pay its bills.
“Thankfully, things improved from February onward,” he said, adding that in January 2020, it looked as if the economy was going to have an excellent year.
“… and then we had these setbacks with COVID and, of course, with the volcano erupting and with hurricane Elsa, storms and the like.”