Advertisement 87
Advertisement 323
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves giving the report on government finances on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves giving the report on government finances on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
Advertisement 219

The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines collected 9.2% more in revenue between January and September, compared to the same period of 2022, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has announced.

“Total revenue and grants increased by 9.2% over last year at the same time. Current revenue increased by 9.2% over last year at this point,” he said.

“We had budgeted for current revenue and grants to be $564.3 million. We are over the budget, slightly over what we budgeted, but what we have collected in revenue and grants is 9.2% more than what it was last year at this time,” the prime minister said.

In terms of current revenue, the government had budgeted to collect $535 million but collected $531 million, “meaning that our numbers are only 0.8 of 1% off from what we budgeted to what we have actually collected. But on the current revenue, we are 9.2% also above what we collected last year.

“It means that the Ministry of Finance, in relation to these two matrices, both total revenue and grants and current revenue, did pretty good estimates. That’s what it is,” the prime minister said.

Advertisement 21

He said there are some other areas of estimates “as to monies that you may get to fund the capital budget, you will fall short. But as we will see, we have been doing well on the capital side also.”

Gonsalves said he would not go through the individual taxes but would give a summary.

“Capital revenue and grants went up by 9.1%. In terms of total expenditure, that is recurrent and capital, that went up by 7.4%. And significantly we had a 6% increase in wages and salaries in terms of as a component of the recurrent expenditure. On the current expenditure, we are up by 8.3%. Total expenditure, we are by 7.4, current expenditure up by 8.3.”

He said capital expenditure increased by 4% over last year’s number up to Sept. 31.

“But our number, which is now $126 million by the end of September spent on the capital, … I happen to know there are several matters who have not yet come to account on which spending has taken place.”

The prime minister said the current account balance is an improvement over last year at the end of September.

“It was just over $10 million last year in the deficit. It’s now just over $6 million deficit on the current account. The overall balance, it was about $91 million in the deficit last year — that is to say both capital and recurrent. And it’s no 87. That’s the summary story here,” the prime minister said.

Gonsalves said that in November, the government will take to Parliament an EC$74 million supplementary estimate specifically for the port.

“The money is already there. But we had not wanted to bloat the number and the way the fellows have been proceeding with the project, we need more money to address what is going on. So, I had to go to the Parliament with it. But … it’s not additional financial, just additional budgeting.”

He said the government would more than likely have to go to Parliament to exceed the borrowing limit that it had set in order to take account of what has to be borrowed to upgrade the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex in preparation for World Cup Cricket next June.

“That’s a matter of urgency,” the prime minister said.