According to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, as he spoke on NBC radio last week Wednesday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded, as of the end of July, an overall deficit (combined capital and current accounts) of EC$53 million, an increase over last year’s figure of EC$40 million.
Against this backdrop, Dr. Gonsalves said with a mixed interpretation, that the Finance Ministry was “holding things together,” though, he admitted, “it’s tight.”
This, he said, was due to the fact that the primary revenue earners, including taxes on goods and service, were holding their own.
There was, however, a “big drop” in revenue raised through the Alien Land Holding License and stamp duties, and property transactions in Mustique in particular.
Government has in the past referred to this (Mustique, etc.) as a major contributor to its revenue and its generation of EC$18 million for January to July 2022 was disappointing to say the least, when compared to EC$62 million in 2021.
So, when the combined figure for Revenue and Grants for the period concerned, was computed, it showed a decrease from EC$427 million to EC$386 million.
Revenue, however, increased negligibly from EC$381.9 in 2021 to EC$ 282.7 million in 2022.
Current expenditure, Gonsalves disclosed, was EC$385 million, which hovered around the figure for the same period in 2021.
Of this amount, EC$192 million went towards paying wages and salaries and making NIS contributions; EC$23 million towards servicing the national debt; and EC$111 million to statutory bodies, the Community College and social assistance programmes.
As for capital expenditure for the first seven months of the year, this stood at EC$63 million, “a little down from last year,” according to Dr. Gonsalves.
And while he pointed to some major activity which is anticipated to positively impact government’s situation for the second half of the financial year, he reiterated that while government is “holding things together… it’s tight.”