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Eustace concerned over figures in Supplementary Estimates

Eustace concerned over figures in Supplementary Estimates


Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace has voiced some concerns about the Supplementary Estimates that will be debated on Wednesday in the House of Assembly.{{more}}

During his party’s New Times radio programme yesterday, Eustace stated that after looking at the Estimates, he was concerned about several things. One, in particular, was that the estimates were expected to carry this year’s budget to almost $1 billion.

“What I find interesting… is that when you look at the preliminary figures that are now being presented, on the assumption that you can spend all that you say you are going to spend, and I don’t believe you can – the Government can, this means that the budget, based on the figures they have presented so far, the budget for the year 2014, will jump from 911 million dollars to 995 million dollars. Just about a billion dollars,” the Opposition Leader said.

“That’s where the budget will reach. In fact, if there will be more things that need to be added, that will carry the budget past the billion dollar mark ­– the first time in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

While he acknowledged that the figures are taking into account the cost for repair of the damage that was caused by the flashfloods last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Eustace does not believe that the country has the capacity to spend such large amounts of money.

It is a matter, he said, his New Democratic Party is not taking lightly.

“I just want to say with respect to that debate, we are taking this matter very seriously indeed. I have looked at the documents and I have a number of concerns which we will have our own internal meetings to deal with, prior to the budget debate.

“I want to say this: sometimes we have a tendency not to pay a great deal of attention to matters like the Estimates; what we’re going to spend and how much revenue we’re going to earn. We tend to take it in stride. We always have to take into account the ability of the Government to raise money, the ability of the Government to control its expenditure, so we have a meaningful outcome at the end of the year and indeed perhaps our economy will grow and more people will get jobs, so you can’t ignore the Estimates because they are, in fact, the Government’s plan for the year,” Eustace said.

Government will present supplementary estimates of just over EC80 million dollars at Wednesday’s sitting of Parliament. The 2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure were passed in early December, ahead of the Christmas Eve floods, which caused more than EC$300 million in damage, and required additional unplanned expenditure to cover post flood rehabilitation.