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HomeBusinessEconomySt Lucia’s 2023/24 budget: Re-positioning mid-term for general elections

St Lucia’s 2023/24 budget: Re-positioning mid-term for general elections

  • No VAT on building materials from July 2023 for two years – General Elections due 2026
  • 18% economic growth reported
  • Unemployment reported at 19% and youth unemployment at 25.9%
  • 2.5% ‘health and security levy’ effective July 21, 2023, (Effectively, VAT returns to 15% currently at 12.5%)
  • Registered Fishers to receive XCD$1 Rebate per gallon on fuel
  • Other relief initiatives – General Elections due 2026

TORONTO, Canada, (CNG Business) – The concentration of government to social distribution (basic needs – food, shelter, clothing), the attempt to resurrect the Royal St Lucia Force Force (RSLPF), a colonial dinosaur, useless and despondent, combined with comatose healthcare, are predisposed in the vantage point of the 2023/24 budget: re-positioning mid-term for general elections. Meantime, a slew of relief initiatives maturing within the general elections retro of 2026, suggest the momentum.

Never mind the administration and senior government officials – cry-cry tail of no money – the policy statement boasts 18 percent economic growth. Unemployment is reported at 19 percent and youth unemployment at 25.9 percent; outside the scope of defined perspectives, COVID-19 fallout from the workforce, and discouraged workers who are no longer looking for work.

History notes, the construction stimulus programme for first-time homeowners [2012]: The Construction Stimulus Programme is a strategic and deliberate response to the global financial crisis which has adversely impacted the local economy, GIS reported.

Dr Kenny Anthony explained as published, Thursday, August 23, 2012:

“The government of Saint Lucia is forgoing over EC$45 million in revenue to execute the construction stimulus which will bolster the economy and empower citizens to build.”

Then and now, Saint Lucia remains several deficient in a national housing program and housing stock. The current 100 houses proposed to be built … is a drop in the bucket of serious housing construction, beyond eight months.

To reverse Saint Lucia’s housing deficiency resulting from government control, incompetence, and successive administrations’ inherent weakness to corrupt practices, a public, private sector, and community housing approach would contain an emphasis on talking, taking, and acting – to provide results, [a housing programme] on the scale and scope not seen since 1995-1997 at Carellie.

The Carellie housing programme was cut short and aborted following the 1997 general elections.

The 2023/24 incentives of No VAT on building materials from July 2023 for two years – general elections due 2026 – are notably not concentrated in development and/or production sectors and [currently] not specified to scale up benchmarks and economic goals, [subject to change]. However, the same ole metamorphous that there is potential to stimulate growth in the local economy while also creating employment, is the common twaddle, presented as economic substance.

In the ethos of “putting people first” VAT or no VAT, requires money and ‘money supply’. If salaries remain stagnant and money stock remains affected, by inflation, goods and services are likely to remain unchanged. And thus, without people and commerce, there is no economy.

St Lucia’s 2023/24 budget: re-positioning mid-term for general elections illustrates superficially, that things are not bad, [after all] while aiming for increase revenue with the reintroduction of 15 percent VAT respective of inconclusive explanations, not suitable for even so-called 43 percenters in any civilization. 

The illustration depicted in the policy statement is not unprecedented by standards lacking sustainable pillars for economic rejuvenation, supported by human and capital flows. The economic self-reliance, social and development economic are undefined. The present is merely the tax and spend dynamics of liberal economic theory and policy by soundbite.

Saint Lucia’s core interest in development to build a 21st-century vision and country, that the 180K citizens can look towards is an intellectual vacuum. It regrettably eludes the brilliance and recognition of having two Nobel Laureates.

For Saint Lucia to deepen cooperation and strengthen alignment with friends, partners, and allies, the country must first direct the path of best intentions, with areas of interest and core priorities.

In the absence of not knowing and/or not messaging national core interest for growth and development, and working towards it as a people, one is left to ponder, how will Saint Lucia “deepened its participation in the Caribbean regional integration process and has further consolidated its political independence and confidence in the jurists of the region?”

How can Saint Lucia, “continue to collaborate with other countries in the region to fight the scourge of violent gun crime,” when the institutionalised problem is the ‘elephant in the room’?

The government policy on the free movement of people and ‘ CARICOM economic space’ is likewise void of investment capital and specialization – specific to the strengthening of individual islands, and the application of human resources, coupled with the avoidance of talk.

The attempts at diversification on climate change initiatives and food security to reduce the import bill, and to secure new regional markets for agricultural products, continue to be much of nothing.

Again, lacking capital allocation, public education, and legislation to liberalize market conditions and the necessary infrastructure, is utmost in the renewable energy sector.

The pivot as illustrated in St Lucia’s 2023/24 budget: re-positioning mid-term for general elections is far removed from efforts to bolster collective security, deepen bilateral links, and compete economically.

Conversely, the economic gains albeit the ethos that the economy is on the rise are apprehensive – at best. The current concept is illusive of foreign and local investor confidence and serious capital inflow, evidenced by most balance sheets and the landscape.

The current economic gains hyped in certain circles reference a combination of the natural progression of post-covid-19 recovery, a buttress on tourism, Taiwan’s budget support, and their benevolence in ministerial and community development projects.

The reliance on Citizenship by Investment (CIP) has also helped, coupled with an increase in excise taxes, and the numeric formulation in the ‘budget surplus’ equation.

Visably, “the living standards of the people are being crushed and starved’ secondary to “the negative effects of corruption” ascribes an economist. And amid the quality of elected officials, there is imported inflation and a lack of food security focus.

It appears COVID-19 did not impart Saint Lucian authorities and policymakers valuable lessons. Nevertheless, there is a desperate need for targeted trade and investment to avoid continuous dependency on food imports – in a tropical country, once capable of feeding itself.

The economic balance in the economy is also abstract as neither administration has taken unilateral action to change the status quo of tourism, limited trade, manufacturing, and focused infrastructure development in line with a national focus – interest and core priorities.

To help define the modern response to the challenges facing Saint Lucia – “putting the people first” requires ‘a true people-first agenda’ outside the confines of the political agenda and political economy that cluster brain cells in an ill-defined fiction.

There is a need to re-examine Saint Lucia’s social, economic, and historical footprint more carefully. It is very different. The results of unacceptable confusion signify the phenomenon – an exchange of nothing for something – notwithstanding limitations.

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