Earlier this year, the Parliament approved the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for this year, 2023, with projections for future years. That’s essentially an estimate of how much money they expect to receive and how much they expect spend.
Two things are important for you to know: recurrent expenditures basically mean daily, or, let’s say, monthly expenses, like light bill and water bill, and so on and those things that you have to pay for often, like salaries.
Then there is capital expenditure. That’s like money to build roads and bridges and buildings and so on — projects.
Before we look at a titbit of the details, did you know your external debt was EC$1.6 billion and domestic, EC$555 million at the end of September 2022? That’s a total of $2.1 billion, thereabout, national debt.
Here are some revenue numbers: money that the government is expected to collect. Did you know that the government expects to collect EC$483,789 from the Book Loan Scheme this year? EC$22 million from vehicle license, not including driver and conductor fees; and EC$107 million from VAT? This is at The Income Tax Department. Then there’s another EC$128 million in VAT from the Customs, plus EC$7 million in vehicle surcharge.
Did you know that the government is expecting to collect over EC$4 million in fees for services at the hospital? In 2021, they collected EC$4.6 million. At the immigration office, they expect EC$1.4 million from passports.
A look at some expenditures:
Did you know that the Office of Prime Minister has an allocation of $35.5 million for recurrent expenditure for this year? That’s more money than several other ministries, including Tourism, Agriculture, Transport and Works, Legal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Urban Development, National Mobilisation, and Public Service. Of the EC$35.5 million, EC$3.2 is to cover “utilities”. EC$700,000 is for international travel; EC$550,000 is for hosting and entertainment; EC$372,310 is for allowances; EC$350,000 for medical benefits. There’s another EC$75,000 projected for rehabilitation of the residence, and another EC$60,000 to rehabilitate the office.
Did you know that the Office of Prime Minister is expected to grant EC$180,000 to NBC Radio and EC$8,000 to Garifuna Community Radio? I recall listening to an explanation one time where it was stated that several other operations fall under this office. The Government Printery, for example, might be one such operation.
Did you know that at the end of September last year (2022) that there was an outstanding debt owed to the NIS in an amount of close to EC$35.4 million? National Lotteries at EC$2.6 million; Student Loan Company at EC$21 million. Then the Diagnostic Medical Centre at EC$4.2 million. There’s also a Mt. Wynne Hotel Development loan listed at EC$1.5 million — all owed to the NIS.
Kingstown Town board
Did you know that Kingstown Town Board, as of September 2022, was running an overdraft at the Bank of SVG in the amount of EC$$222,000 at an interest rate of 11%?
Did you know that you have four outstanding loans to Taiwan for the airport, totalling over EC$$67 million? Did you also know that you owe the ALBA Bank on two loans, for the airport construction? EC$67.5 million at 2% interest; and another EC$26 million at 6% interest. You’re also projected to spend EC$4 million this year to rehabilitate the airport pavement.
These figures are only some of the ones on the monetary side of things. Your Estimates document also contains other indicators, from number of persons tested for certain diseases to number of passengers expected to arrive by air to the number of MoneyGram transactions processed at the Post Office. Bottom line: pay closer attention to your affairs.
Did you know, for example, that while the Electoral Office is supposed to be constitutionally independent, that its operation falls under the Ministry of National Security, and that the Supervisor of Elections is projected to receive a 32% salary increase this year? Written text is often used to hide things. Ignore them at your own disadvantage and detriment.
The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].