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BELT-TIGHTENING: St Lucia’s leader calls for reduction in gov’t expenditure

Alisha Ally, Government Information Service

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Prime Minister Anthony delivering the budget estimates on Thursday, April 25. * GIS Photo

With the contraction of the world economy, many states have sought to implement measures to curb expenditure for fear of plummeting into financial crises.

On the opening day of the debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2013/2014, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Kenny D Anthony, announced an intention to reduce the country’s spending.

In acknowledging the need to restore the fiscal position of the island to a viable and sustainable state, Dr. Anthony presented to the House of Assembly, a draft of the Estimates of Expenditure which is $134 million less than last year’s.

Dr.  Anthony explained this shift is to contain the island’s fiscal deficit, which currently stands at an estimated nine percent per GDP.

“The actual out turn for the financial year 2012/2013 was in fact 1.285 billion dollars despite the budgeted estimates.  Clearly this proposed increase over the out turn for 2013/2013 reflects to a large extent, upward pressure on the wage bill due to the proposed salary increase to public officers,” he said.

Last year’s approved estimates totalled $1.457 billion.  However, this year, the draft estimates is $1.327 billion.  The total recurrent expenditure is expected to decline by an estimated 1.6 percent less than the approved estimates for 2012/2013, representing some $947.1 million.

In keeping with its belt–tightening measures, government intends to cut capital expenditure by more than 20 percent.

“At $380.3 million, the proposed capital expenditure budget for 2013/2014 represents 114.6 million or 23.2 percent decrease compared to the approved estimates for 2012/2013,” the finance minister noted.

The overall cuts in expenditure are more likely to be felt mainly in respect of capital expenditure.

The prime minister believes this may be the first time since 1979 that a calculated effort has been made to reduce government’s expenditure.

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6 comments

  1. To much bacanal in our country we should postpone carnival this year and save money instead of exposing bodies and booze.

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  2. Belt-tightening requires sacrifice. It is necessary because I think we St. Lucians haven't gotten the gist of what it means to be prudent. In our households, etc. we spend money on short-term material things without looking at the long term - for example, we prefer to rent instead of staying at our parents' home and save and buy a piece of property and build a house. Or buy a car instead of a piece of land. Foolish decisions we make. Well, if belt-tightening will cause us to re-think our priorities, then so be it. But it MUST start from the top-down. Cut back on refurbishing offices, on purchase of endless government vehicles, etc. Cut back!!!

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  3. i hope some of the cost cutting is to lower his press secretary $8000 salary. Bon

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  4. How hypocritical. I thought this was what the LPM party have been calling for? We must stop this shat of shooting down suggestions made by people that don't belong to our party. If we say its about St Lucia what was all the knock down of the people in the LPM all about???

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  5. His belly is too big for his belt.

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