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Parliament approves Estimates of over $1 billion for 2019

Parliament approves Estimates of over $1 billion for 2019
Camillo Gonsalves


Parliamentarians have approved over EC$1 billion for this year’s Estimates of revenue and expenditure in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Camillo Gonsalves, the minister of finance presented the Estimates in the House of Assembly on Tuesday. He said that the 2019 Estimates of revenue and expenditure are EC$1,067,343,283.

This is a more than 7 per cent increase on the amount budgeted in 2018.

“The government, in its continued quest to lift the level of public services delivered, is continuously improving the quality and quantity of the human resource that it employs. In this regard, a number of new positions have been created in strategically important areas of the public service to enhance service delivery to the citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the finance minister said.

Gonsalves said that this year’s Estimates include allocations for 103 additional posts under the Ministry of National Security. Four additional posts have also been allocated to aviation services at the Arygle International Airport.

In the Ministry of Health and the Environment, 78 new posts have been allocated to strengthen hospital, community health, mental health and laboratory services.

And seven posts have also been created in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide for the establishment of an embassy of SVG in Taiwan and to enhance the capacity of the UN Permanent Mission in New York to advance the country’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Recurrent expenditure for 2019 is estimated at EC$844,763,703 and capital expenditure is estimated at EC$222,579,580.

Current revenue is estimated at EC$656,590,775 – a more than 5 per cent increase or EC$34.9 million more than the budgeted current revenue in 2018.

The finance minister said that the budgeted current account balance realised a modest surplus of EC$1,158,485.

Wages and salaries in this year’s estimates total EC$306.5 million; salaries – EC$259.4 million, allowances – EC$24.9 million and wages – EC$22.6 million.

The amount estimated for pensions to pay retired civil servants and for government counterpart contribution to NIS for civil servants total EC$72.7 million.

The total domestic debt as at September 30, 2018 was EC$528.2 million. This fell by EC$40.2 million, which is more than 7 per cent when compared to the domestic debt for the same period in 2017.

And the external debt as at September 30, 2018 was EC$1.086 billion, which is an increase of EC$26.9 million or 2 per cent when compared to the external debt for the same period in 2017.

The Throne Speech, followed by Budget Address will take place on Monday, February 4, from 4:00 pm at the House of Assembly.