HIGHLIGHTS: 2013/2014 Budget

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HIGHLIGHTS: 2013/2014 Budget

1.    Official unemployment rate fell to 20.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 22.3 percent in the same quarter of 2011.

2.    Inflation rate increased to 4.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2.8 percent in 2011 driven in part by introduction of VAT

3.    There has been partial resolution in the CLICO/BAICO saga. Regional governments are still pursuing options to settle outstanding matters.

4.    2,500 jobs were created by NICE in 2012/2013

5.    8,704 persons gained short term employment under STEP

6.    A total of 94 loans valued at $20.75 million have been approved under the Construction Stimulus Package by ECFH/BOSL for both residential and commercial purposes

7.    For the period October 2012 to March 2013, $63.6 million was collected in VAT by the Inland Revenue Department. Customs and Excise collected $77.6 million.

8.    National Development Planning Framework to commence this year.

9.    Appointment of the National and Competitiveness and Productivity.

10.     Establishment of Commercial Court

11.    Legislative reform to provide relief and exemptions to facilitate corporate consolidation.

12.    Development of web portal to facilitate online transactions such as electronic payments.

13.    Establishment of Contact Centre which will serve as an information unit for the public who cannot access services online.

14.    Develop Electronic Document Management System.

15.    Fleet Monitoring and Tracking System to monitor government vehicles.

16.    Vieux-Fort to be designated as “University Town”. Incentives for investment to be announced.

17.    A shift in focus on the Development of the Hewanorra International Airport. Runway will be rehabilitated first. A new terminal will follow, at a reduced cost. Thirdly, ancillary airport facilities will be constructed to accommodate an FBO to serve private jets.

18.    Port Castries Redevelopment to include retail outlets, restaurants, commercial office space, a yacht marina, bus and taxi staging area, local vendors and artisan market, a casino, car park and other elements remains at the forefront of Saint Lucia’s strategic development.

19.    Pursue a Public/Private Partnership to seek to return WASCO to a more sustainable position.

20.    Dredging of John Compton Dam a priority

21.    Construction of a Southern Dam as part of the long term plan to end water woes in the south.

22.    Pursue Public/Private Partnerships to construct new Government offices, so as to reduce rental expenditure in the long term.

23.    Construction of Administrative Complex in Vieux-Fort.

24.    New Government services will be available in Vieux-Fort, once Complex has been constructed.

25.    New incentives Regime to replace outdated Fiscal Incentives Act of 1974.

26.    Tourism Marketing Budget remains the same despite cut backs in Capital programme.

27.    Implementation of Yacht registration.

28.    Exploration of new markets through links with Copa Airlines while simultaneously pursuing aggressively existing markets to increase arrivals.

29.    A Creative Industries Policy and Act Plan, as well as a Creative Industries Act to be developed.

30.    $500,000 has been provided for small grants for creative development.

31.    The National Performing Arts Programme will continue.

32.    Financial Support to be provided for the commissioning of  murals, paintings and sculptures for public buildings and spaces.

33.    The Praslin and Savannes Bay Fish Landing Sites to be upgraded this year.

34.    A coconut replanting programme will commence given growing demand worldwide.

35.    Incentives will be provided for Household gardening.

36.    The Electricity Supply Act will be Amended

37.    Introduction of Solar PV arrays to reduce Government’s energy bill.

38.    Last year, 50 LED street lights were installed in the City Centre.

39.    Tax Concessions and Incentives for Renewable Energy Systems will be introduced during this financial year.

40.    The process of curriculum reform will commence this year.

41.    There will be a revision of the approach to providing laptops to students. Commencing 2014 academic year, laptops will be provided for students of Form one in Secondary Schools to ensure maximum contribution to the development and education of students.

42.    Partial zoning of Secondary Schools begins this academic year.

43.    Work will commence on eight schools this year. An amount of $8.2 has been allocated this year. Corinth Secondary, Clendon Mason Memorial, La Guerre Primary, Fond Assau Primary, Vide Bouteille Primary and Vieux-Fort Infant to benefit.

44.    Progress on the Commissioning of the New National Hospital Continues.

45.    St. Jude’s Hospital will be a totally new hospital, only a shadow of its former self. Work continues.

46.    Strategic Plan for Health Sector at an advanced stage and includes improved delivery of services, sustainable financing system, health management information system, management of chronic Non-Communicable diseases and universal health coverage.

47.    56 New special Police Constables and 51 New Regular Constables were added to the fleet of law enforcement officers.

48.    The Automated Finger Print Indentification System was installed and operationalized last year.

49.    Installation of CCTV continues.

50.    Consolidation of various employment initiatives. One or two agencies will be expanded to absorb social initiatives in a more cohesive and targeted manner.

51.    There will be a greater focus on training to ensure that our youth become more employable.

52.    171 small contracts were awarded under the Constituency Development Programme. This created 2,400 short term jobs.

53.    A system will be set up where residents can contribute to a special fund for rehabilitation of residential roads. An amount up to $5,000.00 per individual can be redeemed as a tax allowance.

54.    PROUD will continue. Aupicon, Cantonement, BruceVille, Rock Hall and Aux Lyons to benefit.

55.    Government will embark on the Roseau Resettlement Scheme.

56.    The After School Programme will continue.

57.    HOPE  and NICE will continue.

58.    A grant of $200.00 monthly per child will be given to parents to care for differently abled children.

59.    The Property Tax Threshold to increase from $100,000 to $200,000 effective January 1, 2014.

60.    The Tourism Marketing and Product Development Fund will be established. Hoteliers to contribute US$2.00 per room per night.

61.    VAT rate on Hotel Accommodation will increase by 1.5% to 9.5% effective April 1, 2014.

62.    A reservation fee of $300.00 is proposed to be applied to license numbers attached to vehicles that are being sold but for which owners wish to transfer to a new vehicle. This will also apply to numbers assigned to vehicles which has not been reinsured in over 12 months, if persons are desirous of keeping this license number for future use.

63.    Legislation will be introduced to allow for personalized or customized license plates at a cost of $2000.00.

64.    Effective June 1, 2013 the Government Subsidy on white sugar will be eliminated. Further, subsidies on bulk rice, flour and brown sugar will be reduced by 50 percent.

65.    Effective June 1, 2013, public assistance will increase by roughly 25%.

66.    There will be an 80% reduction in funded vacancies. This will be used to offset increase in wage bill in the short term.

67.    Capital Expenditure will be reduced from 9.3 percent of GDP in 2012/2013 to a proposed 6 percent in 2015/2016.

68.    There will be a comprehensive examination of Government operations to rationalize the current level of expenditure.

69.    Government intends to spend $1,327.40 million to finance its recurrent and capital expenditure for 2013/2014

70.    Tax Revenue is projected to be $765.6 million (91 per cent of total projected recurrent revenue).

71.    Captital revenue from proceeds of sale of lands amounts to $0.16 million

72.    Grants account for $137.92 million, a 32 percent increase from last year’s Budget.

73.    Loans of $38.97 million consisting of $20.61 million from the CDB and $18.36 million from the World Bank will also be used to finance the Budget.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Why is the government reducing capital expenditure from 9% to 6%. Isn't capital expenditure the key to economic growth. Theory should be reducing spending on things like STEP.

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  2. Its OK if the government wants to make money every time you want to transfer a license number but fucking hell, give an take 300 dollars is too damn much!!!!!! Make it 100 Jesus Christ the St Lucian government wants to add more complications to business transactions !!!!!! White people come here to live etc because of the ease and few taxes of the developed countries! Don't complicate our small island please!!! Rich people often get new vehicles and don't sell them as often as the little mallaway. This means that its the bloody ordinary man that will feel the sting of this 300 dollars!!!

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  3. '68. There will be a comprehensive examination of Government operations to rationalize the current level of expenditure'

    So there's 67 things you put your money down for. Then finally at number 68 you decide to have a look at what you can afford. Here's a clue - try doing that first!

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  4. i need some one with a financial background to clarify something, can you please differentiate what happen to Clico as oppose to what happened to Alan Stanford, to me its the same thing. And why are governments around the Caribbean bearing the burden of this massive loss and if all those governments were all invested, aren't there people or departments within those governments who suppose to oversea those investments?

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  5. I am really tired of hearing this statement, "There will be a comprehensive examination of Government operations to rationalize the current level of expenditure." if so, wtf have previous administrations been doing? We need to link the integrity commission to the electoral office so when people come to register for contesting public office a full declaration of assets are made. Now this should be done at least 6 months before elections are held. This enables the electoral office and the commission of integrity ample time to thoroughly check out prospective candidates and also the saint lucian electorate can familiarize themselves with prospective candidates. If there is any discrepancy between information provided by prospective candidates and information from investigations done by the commission, persons will:

    1. loose their deposits (the present amount needs to be increased)
    2. ban from participating in up coming elections and the next elections whenever it is called.

    The investigative unit of the police and the inland revenue department should be involved so there are discrepancies are picked up , those person should be immediately audited and possible charges should be laid on those individuals.

    We all know this is what suppose to happen but blind population and smart ass politicians will never allow that because they have to much crap to hide . When are we going to wake st.lucia............ this is just my 5 cents............but then again even if all of this is implemented the secret voices that run this country will find their way around it.................. Lucians nous pweeeeeee

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