Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Allen Chastanet has announced a “marked improvement” in the fiscal position of the government over the past year as he presented the budget estimates of expenditure of one billion, four hundred and eighty-seven million, five hundred and eight-three thousand, two hundred dollars in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
Chastanet credited the government’s economic performance to revenue enhancement measures and efficiencies in tax administration.
He explained: “For the most part, the performance of 2017/2018, reflects actuals up to the month of February 2018, and projections for March 2018, the last month of the year. Mr. Speaker, as it relates to the fiscal performance for 2017/2018 budget, I am indeed very pleased to report to this honorable house, that the Central Government is now projecting a marked improvement in its fiscal position compared to the target set in the approved budget.
“As a result, a primary surplus of $45.6 million, the equivalent of 1 percent GDP and an overall deficit of 116, 800 000, or 2.5 percent of the GDP is anticipated, relative to a primary deficit of 1.1 percent of GDP and an overall deficit of 4.7 percent programme for the year.
“In essence, Mr. Speaker, we had projected a deficit of, a primary deficit of 1.1 percent and we achieved a deficit, a surplus of 1 percent….In addition to that, we had projected a deficit, an overall deficit of 4.7 percent and we actually achieved a deficit of 2.5 percent of GDP.
“The increase stems from impact of revenue enhancement measures and efficiencies in tax administration from the main tax sources as well as the anticipated improvement in economic activity for 2018/2019. The total projected recurrent revenue for 2018/2019 is comprised of 1000 million, 1008.36 million or 91 percent of tax revenue, and 1.484 million in non-tax revenue. Tax revenue is forecast to increase by 4 percent in comparison to the out-turn of 2017/2018, while non-tax revenue is expected to increase by 6.4 percent compared to the revised estimates.
“Taxes on income and profits are projected to amount to 262.79 million, up by 6.88 million or 2.6 percent above the revised estimates of 2017/2018. This reflects expected increases in all the components of this category of revenue, namely income tax from corporations, individuals withholding tax…”