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Gov’t proposes EC$1.2 billion budget for 2014/15

Samuel Sukhnandan, SNO Reporter

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Parliament Building.

The Kenny Anthony administration today, April, 29, presented this year’s financial budget in the House of Assembly, which stands at EC$1,252,021,600. In presenting the expenditure and estimates, Prime Minister Anthony said that this year’s budget is aimed largely on reducing the current financial deficit.

Anthony highlighted the success made over the previous financial year, which saw a reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit from 9.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent. The deficit however stands at EC$ 57.2 million.

“By a stretch of imagination that was a commendable achievement…I don’t think I can identify any country in the Eastern Caribbean that was able to do that without the involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he opined. The prime minister also noted that his government was also able to stabilize revenue intake for the previous financial year. He expressed gratitude to the citizenry for understanding that measures had to be put in place, to assist with the reduction of the fiscal deficit.

Anthony indicated that the improvements made in this regard is not “an accidental development”, as was speculated. Rather, the prime minister described the accomplishment made in reducing the current deficit as, “the employment of fiscal discipline.”

During the 2014/15, Anthony said that the fiscal deficit will be reduced by EC$74.5 million. However, he reminded Members of Parliament (MPs) that the work is not over, stating that, “we are not out of the worst.” The deficit he reported is projected to increase by EC$254.5 million during the new financial year, which he plans to monitor properly.

In addition to that, Anthony stressed that his government will work feverishly to ensure that public debt is reduced further. “I hope that this government would be able to present legislation, to deal with public debt and refashion how to address that issue … to determine what to borrow and at what time we can borrow,” he added.

At present, the government he said is also faced with increase spending for wages and salaries in the public service sector. During 2012/2013 the bill for wages and salary in the public sector stood at EC$449 million. This figure is expected to increase to over $450 million, this year.

Anthony noted that outstanding increase in wages and salaries for the public sector, brought about through wage negotiations stands at approximately $459 million. He highlighted that serious attention must be paid to this issue. In addition to that, he explained that retirement funds is slowly increasing, which is a cause for concern as well. Anthony said it is therefore important that the deficit must be reduced.

“The journey has started … we have done well …we must continue … fiscal discipline is producing results … it requires a change and we have to complete this journey of taking it down,” Anthony stressed.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the financial year 2014/15 is expected to reach EC$3.7 billion. The goal he said it to reduce current expenditure by 17.4 per cent. While a reduction on the capital side of spending will be achieved, spending on the reoccurring side will see little progress. “In this business they have to be give and take and it would require leadership to do this, we have made good progress and we can do it together,” he said. Despite a reduction on spending in a few areas, funding for constituency programmes will continue, with a provision of EC$18 million made in this year’s budget.

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12 comments

  1. Is the gov't sending anybody home?

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  2. I agree that spending must be monitored in order to reduce debt. The question as always is which sectors should experience cutbacks.

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  3. Last Year 'which saw a reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit from 9.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent. The deficit however stands at EC$ 57.2 million'

    'During the 2014/15, Anthony said that the fiscal deficit will be reduced by EC$74.5 million'

    'The deficit he reported is projected to increase by EC$254.5 million during the new financial year, which he plans to monitor properly.'

    What do these numbers mean? Busy claiming DECREASES in deficits but the end result is an INCREASE???

    If you reduce a 57 million deficit by 74 million you end up in surplus. It can't be that. Just numbers being thrown around.

    What is an OUTSTANDING wage increase of 459 million that needs to be addressed?? Is this money still owed.

    Hopefully SNO reporter's next article might provide information rather than questions, to those who give a damn.

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  4. using common sense because we all know have 28000 people working for government is over kill in face if we reduce that by just 10% we can really see how over populated the government is. I wish this would have been done back in 2007 when it was shown to be a big problem but we don't have leadership with the nuts to do whats rite for the country

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  5. concerned citizen

    I agree Mr fowler. There are other areas which can be addressed or strategies which can be implemented. We don't all make $2000+!!!

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  6. Doing bit of math for my six year old son. How much Barbados dollars is Ec 1.2 billion. BDS$ trade at $1.98 to US$. This is a serious question.

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  7. Reducing the deficit should not mean sending home people from the public service. What is the SLP doing???

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    • I didn't read about sending people home in this article. Can you guide me?

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    • With the economic situation, the prudent decision would be for the government to reduce wages and salaries now. The only way to impact this figure would be to lay off some of the workers. This is a very tough decision but if we don't do it now, we may be forced to do this at greater numbers down the line if we end up going to the IMF for assistance. Based on the financial situation of the country, we may be heading down that line soon. However. The laying off of workers was not mentioned in this article.

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  8. In d words of PETER TOSH long gone before his time(ONLY D POOR MAN AH FEEL IT)while TRU TONES remind us we left with(BURNIN EYES AN A HUNGRY BELLY)lessoning to PAPA VADER tellin us(POLITICIANS PLAYIN THEIR MASS)so d VAVAL b4 d carnival is we d people

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