PM’s key points in 2019/2020 estimates

The following is extracted from the Prime Minister’s Facebook post on the Estimates of Expenditure

Allen Chastanet

April 10 at 5:17 PM ·

This afternoon I delivered the 2019/2020 Estimates of Revenue & Expenditure in Parliament. A few key points from my presentation include:

-The sinking fund re-established by my Government now has $21 Million with a further $12 Million to be added this financial year

– Public Medical Assistance increased significantly from an approved budget of approximately $800,000 in 2018/2019 to well over $5 million!

-More persons will be employed in various key departments such as Department of Home Affairs (Police, Probation & Parole, Bordelais Correctional Facility), Department of Justice (Forensic Lab, DPP’s Office and the Supreme Court) and Attorney General’s Chambers

– The provision for insurance has been increased to cater for addition coverage under the Catastrophic Risk Insurance facility. A contingency provision of $10 million has been included to cater for unforeseen and urgent expenditures arising as a result of natural disasters, epidemics, contingent liabilities etc

– A sum of $325.3 million has been allocated to meet debt service requirement during the financial year 2019/20. This amount comprises of interest payments of $182.3 million and principal repayment of $142.96 million, $12 million of which is expected to go towards building up the sinking fund to liquidate maturing debt instruments.

– With respect to transfer payments, the government is proposing to allocate a sum of $178.2 million representing a reduction of 1.6 percent or $3 million below the revised estimates for 2018/19. The reduction is primarily as a result of the reduced subvention to the St. Lucia Tourism Authority which was previously shown as a capital item but is now reclassified as recurrent expenditure.

– With respect to the development expenditure, my government has allocated a sum of $300.6 million towards funding projects in the new fiscal year. It is important to note that capital expenditure constitutes $246.7 million of this sum, while the remaining $53.9 million is project expenses

– The bulk of my government’s capital allocation is geared towards improvements in the agricultural production, infrastructural development, sports infrastructure, health and education.

– Of the total capital budget, an amount of $79.8 million or 32.3 percent of the total development budget is proposed for allocation to the Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy, which will cater for ongoing roads, bridges and maintenance/rehabilitation projects. Mr. Speaker, the proposed allocation for roads and bridges for 2019/2020 represents the largest amount since the fiscal year 2006/07.

– My government has also allocated $7.8 million in additional resources to continue ongoing projects under the Department of Agriculture, which includes the water supply redevelopment projects in Vieux Fort and Dennery.

– A proposed sum of $20.6 million has also been allocated to the Department of Sports to cater for major improvements to sporting facilities around the island.

-Though we continue to experience budget deficits, I am pleased to report that the budget out-turn for the fiscal year 2018/19 indicates a lower overall deficit of $68.43 million, compared to the estimated deficit of $163.92 million in the approved estimates for that year. This was due to the combined effect of higher than anticipated revenue earnings and some notable under-spending of the budget.

-Total grant disbursement in the fiscal year 2019‐20 is estimated at $49.08 million which constitutes 3.9 of total resources. It is expected to cover 15.6 percent of the total capital expenditure.

-Based on actual data for the 11 month period ending February 28th, 2019, total revenue and grants were projected to increase by $27.82 million above the approved estimates of $1.176 billion to reach a total of $1.204 billion for the fiscal year 2018-2019. This performance is largely influenced by higher than projected inflows from Import Duty, Service Charge, VAT, Income Tax Individuals and CIP receipts. Receipts from CIP donations registered the most significant improvement with a surplus of $37.3 million or 126 percent above the estimates for the fiscal year 2018-19.

-Overall, receipts from taxes are estimated to register a 5.17 percent increase, equivalent to $54.12 million above the target for the fiscal year. The estimated out-turn for receipts from non-tax sources is $69.26 million representing an increase of 10.1 percent over the approved estimates. The improvement in revenue outcome for the non-tax category is largely the result of higher than anticipated receipts from motor vehicle and drivers licenses.

– The proposed 2019/2020 Budget allocation is $1,591,589.00