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Finance minister lays EC$1.3bn estimates

Finance minister lays EC$1.3bn estimates
Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance

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FINANCE MINISTER, Camillo Gonsalves has announced that a total of 144 new posts across several ministries are a part of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the 2022 fiscal year.

The 2022 Estimates, amounting to EC$1,329,340,860 were presented in Parliament yesterday, December 13 and represents a 9.6 per cent increase over the approved budget for 2021, which does not include the subsequent volcano related appropriations that were made later in that year.

Gonsalves said recurrent expenditure for 2022 inclusive of amortisation and sinking fund contribution amount to EC$931.9 million — 4.1 per cent or 36.7 million above the amount budgeted in 2021.

Capital expenditure is estimated at EC$397.5 million.

The finance minister also noted that, “financing for the 2022 budget is expected to come from current revenue of EC$677,586,000 and capital receipts totalling EC$651,832,860”.

The Supplementary Estimates approved by Parliament in the sum of EC$117.9 million on May 11, 2021 for volcano relief, are reflected in the revised estimates 2021 column of this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

Of the posts outlined by Gonsalves in his presentation yesterday, the majority of new positions — 61- have been created in the Ministry of Health and the Environment.

“These include 22 positions that have been added to the staff at the Argyle isolation Centre in an effort to further support the service provided at this facility, in light of the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The added staff includes a ward manager, 12 staff nurses, six nursing assistants, three nursing auxiliaries and these will be used to support acute care as a direct response to those persons whose condition necessitates a stay at the Argyle Isolation Centre,” he said.

The other 37 posts have been created under geriatric care services, which will see an expansion with the addition of a facility at Orange Hill. Two dental assistants have also been added to dental services under community health services division.

The finance minister also noted that 18 posts have been created under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Information; 10 to the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD), six to the department of Economic Planning and two to the Customs and Excise Department.

An additional 28 positions have been created within the Ministry of National Security in the form of recruits to the Royal St Vincent and Grenadines Police Force, five to the Coastguard service and three to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), to further enhance human resources capabilities.

Another two positions have been allocated to the Ministry of Tourism under the Department of Aviation services, “mainly to assist in raising the levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the management of its technical operations and to deal with what is anticipated to be increased air traffic in 2022”.

Gonsalves also listed one position allocated to the Ministry of Urban Development, three in the Ministry of the Public Sector and eight to the Ministry of Transport, Land and Physical Planning.

Two positions have been allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, and four have been added to the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, Family, Gender Affairs, Housing etc.

One post has been added to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and one crown counsel to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

According to this country’s finance minister, the 2022 current expenditure, exclusive of amortisation and sinking fund contributions amount to a total of EC$727,017,441.

He added that current revenue is estimated at EC$677,508,000.

“Consequently, on the books, there will be a current deficit of $49.5 million on these estimates. The 2022 current revenue of $677.5 million is a 4.7 per cent or $30.1 million increase above the amount budgeted in 2021. The improvement in revenue performance in 2022 is reflective of what is anticipated to be a strong uptick in real economic activity projected for the year,” Gonsalves said.

He continued: “Revenue from tax sources is expected to contribute $582.5 million to the consolidated fund in 2022 while non tax revenues is estimated to gross $95 million. Tax revenue is expected to increase by 5.3 per cent as the major tax types are expected to contribute as follows: taxes on income and profits estimated to grow by $1.2 million or 0.8 per cent, taxes on goods and services are expected to increase by $4.2 million or 2.2 per cent”.

The finance minister said taxes on international trade and transactions are to increase by 4.1 per cent or $6.7 million and that non-tax revenue collection in 2022 is estimated at $95 million, a figure that is 1.7 pr cent more than the amount budgeted in 2021.

“The amount in the 2022 budget under non tax revenue is expected to come mainly from sales of goods and services which is projected to generate 75.7 million in revenue. The amount is estimated to be 0.7 million more than the amount collected in 2021. Revenue from non tax sources is also expected to come from inflows from other miscellaneous sources totalling 2.1 million,” Gonsalves said.

The 2022 budget will be presented to Parliament on January 3, 2022.