After years of being just below, the St Vincent and the Grenadines budget estimates have gone over $1 billion.

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves on Tuesday afternoon presented to parliament the 2019 estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2019 which amount to $1,067,343,283.00 –  an increase of 7.4 percent on the 2018 estimates of $993,535,449.00

The finance minister said the increase is accounted for on both the recurrent and capital sides of the budget.
Gonsalves told parliament that the 2019 budget comprise recurrent expenditure, inclusive of amortization and sinking fund contributions, amount to $844,763,703 and that capital expenditure amount to $222,579,580.

Gonsalves said the budget is financed by recurrent revenue of $656,590,775 and capital receipts totaling $410,743,508.

The finance minister said the current expenditure, exclusive of amortization and sinking fund contribution is $655,441,290 and current revenue is estimated at $656,599,775.00. He said that consequently, the budget current account balance realizes a modest surplus of $1,158,485, and that current revenue for 2019 is 5.6 per cent or $34.9 million higher than budgeted revenue of 2018.

Gonsalves said the improved revenue performance is attributed “mainly to an anticipated pick up in real economic activity in 2019 and administrative improvements at the main revenue agencies.” He said revenue from tax sources is expected to contribute $568.4 million to the Consolidated Fund in 2019 while non-tax revenue is expected to gross $88.2 million.

“Tax revenue is expected to grow by 6.8 per cent, driven mainly by strong growth in taxes on international trade and taxes on goods and services, which are projected to increase by 12.5 per cent and 9.3 per cent, respectively,” the finance minister said.

Gonsalves said taxes on income and profits, which is projected to grow by 1.8 per cent to $158.6 million is the third largest source of government revenue.

“Together, these three sources of tax revenue are expected to contribute $515.3 million to the consolidated fund or 78.5 per cent of the estimated total current revenue for the year 2019.

The $88.2 million budgeted for the collection of non-tax revenue in 2019 is expected to come mainly from the sales of goods and services, which is projected to generate $71 million in revenue,” he said.

Gonsalves also told parliament that revenue from non-tax sources will also benefit from inflows of property income and other revenue. He said that on the recurrent expenditure side, the total estimated recurrent expenditure, inclusive of amortization and sinking fund contributions is $844.7 million.

“This figure is 8.7 per cent or $67.9 million above the amount budgeted in 2018,” he stated. ion and si

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