Thursday, April 25, 2024
spot_img
HomeBusinessPrime Minister Pierre unveils 2024/2025 budget

Prime Minister Pierre unveils 2024/2025 budget

  • Year of Infrastructure – 30-plus infrastructural development projects.
  • “The budget has something for everyone,” said Prime Minister Pierre.
  • “The debate commences Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 9:00 am and it is expected that the Leader of the Opposition will respond to the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2024/2025 Report.~ OPM

By Caribbean News Global fav

TORONTO, Canada (CNG Business) – Another year, another budget, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, as Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Philip J. Pierre unveiled the 2024-2025 budget [Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure] setting the financial direction intended to undertake – Year of Infrastructure – XCD$1.894 Billion.

It has been extensively celebrated that “It’s the first time that estimates have been given to the opposition, eight days before the debate, …” 

The debate commences Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 9:00 am and it is expected that the leader of the opposition will respond to the estimates of revenue and expenditure 2024/2025 report,” said the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), in a press release Monday.

The 2024-2025 budget – Year of Infrastructure – is expected to realise 30-plus infrastructural development projects in an attempt to motion economic growth and development of Saint Lucia.

  • Capital expenditure for the 2024-2025 budget, the government has allocated $298.9 million, a 2.1 percent decrease over the amount approved for the 2023-2024 budget and 15.1 percent over the outturn in 2023-2024.
  • Approximately $484.9 million. The Investment Portfolio is a combination of total project expenditure (comprising project capital and project operating) and non-project capital.
  • Of the total allocation of $484.9 million for development projects, an amount of $130.0 million, or 26.8 percent of the total is proposed for the Department of Economic Development and Youth Economy.

The government is under intense pressure to deliver on its campaign promises and to get the development priorities of the country moving.

  • Out of the XCD$1.894 billion budget, recurrent expenditure amounts to $1.5 billion or 79.3 percent of total expenditure – wages and salaries $577M; debt service of $325.4 M; transfers$ 243.4M; goods and services $441.3M, etc.

At the Standing Finance Committee of the House, Tuesday morning comprising all members of the House of Assembly, the Committee reportedly “review and approve the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2024/2025,” the OPM press release, continued. “[…] Under the rules of The Standing Finance Committee of the House, members are allowed to question the minister for finance on figures presented.”

The OPM announced: “No questions were asked.”

The alternative meaning of this predominantly summarised that all members fully understand “The approved Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure 2024/2025 Report” and are fully prepared to debate with a degree of mutability and knowledge.

The budget debate is scheduled for March 27, 2024, and March 28, 2024, respectively, and seemingly “beyond the usual Boulevard, Market Steps and rum shop debate.”

Nevertheless, this process is quite daunting pointing to a limited crossbencher of two members facing 15 members on the government side.

The call for more time, scrutiny and lack of transparency, by the opposition are not unexpected, while the government moves expeditiously to get the fiscal deployment locked up and done fast.

By the numbers, the findings of the 2024-2025 budget –Year of Infrastructure – advance numerous amplifications on capital allocation, completion of capital projects, budget financing, and recurring expenditure. The government debt strategy is to secure external borrowing on concessionary terms; $243.8M from development partners and $64.1M from bonds, treasury bills and notes.

Taiwan continues to command grant receipts of $43.9M followed by UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund of $27M.

The fiscal year has far-reaching obligations putting together adequate safeguards and implementation heading mid-term, and into general elections, at the fancy of the prime minister.

The opposition’s motivation to query the 2024/2025 budget for unintended consequences, notwithstanding to pressure the government to complete certain tasks and to overhaul the country, including real wages vs minimum wage as the new fiscal year is expected to create jobs and economic growth.

The government of Saint Lucia is facing an alarming trend of fiscal consolidation, deficits, legislation and opening up the country for investments and growth prospects.

“The budget has something for everyone,” said Prime Minister Pierre.

However, it is increasingly clear that the government cannot avoid scrutiny and criticism from its critics and observers. Democracy requires adequate safeguards from window dressing.

Saint Lucia faces significant structural problems that need to be fixed for significant economic growth and development to take root.

The country has a young population seeking good jobs and the benefits of prosperity. Human capital development will require a sustainable upshot in the optimistic economic prospects Prime Minister Pierre envisaged.

The Pierre administration cannot act like successive governments chasing debts, prompting fears of incompetence, a stagnant cabinet of ministers, scathing reports of venality and the fear of backlash.

The determination of policy priorities and the Pierre administration must live up to a different proposition in the albeit prevailing economic underpinnings.

  • Budget 2024/2025 is projecting an overall deficit of $214.9M after deductions of principal payments and refunds. We forecast a 5.8 percent nominal increase in GDP for 2024-2025 $7.3 billion from $6.9 billion over 2023-2024.
  • $153.4M of debt servicing represents domestic debts while $171.5 million represents foreign debt.

The removal of bottlenecks, hardliners and bureaucracy in government and the public service, and the politics of colour – all require a reimagining for economic revival.

Saint Lucia needs a pragmatic approach, durable policy priorities and institutional strengthening to help improve development. The time is now to provide perspectives during the various debates – subject to members of parliament best intentions and ability.

The Appropriations Bill, also termed, the policy statement of the government of Saint Lucia will be presented by the prime minister on April 23, 2024, followed by the debate on April 25 and April 26, 2024.

The new session of the parliament and the fiscal year of the government of Saint Lucia shall commence on April 1, 2024.

Prime Minister Pierre to release 2024-2025 Budget – Tuesday

spot_img
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

spot_img
spot_img
spot_img

Caribbean News

Republic Bank breaks ground on Rodney Bay City Centre Investment Project

The first phase will be the home of RBEC regional headquarters and a new Rodney Bay Branch for the bank’s Saint Lucian customers. ...

Global News

IMF launches new regional office in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will open a new regional office in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to enhance the partnership...