December 22, 2006
Dr. Gonsalves defends record as Finance Minister

More money will be collected by the Government than had been budgeted for 2006, if figures up to October hold true to the end of the year.

The budgeted income for 2006 up to October was $291.2 million but the actual income was $307.1 million.

As he defended his track record as a minister of finance, Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves said that he has always been “on the money” in his income estimations, better than Arnhim Eustace during his time as Finance Minister.{{more}}

“We have all the assumptions right and the procedures in place,” Dr Gonsalves said as he laid out the comparison during the wrap up on debate of the 2007 Budget in Parliament last week.

He said that in 1999, Eustace estimated an income of $261.2 million but the actual income came in shorter by five per cent – $255.8 million. In 2000 his estimates were off by 10 per cent because he predicted an income of $289.6 million but only realized $260.5 million, he again said adding that the deficit was higher in 2001, Eustace’s last year when he budgeted an income of $305.6 million and only saw $272.2 million, or 11 per cent off the mark.

Gonsalves boasted of his record as he highlighted that in 2002 he estimated an income of $310 million and fell short by one per cent with $305.7 million. A similar picture was painted for 2003 and 2004 where the monies expected where $323 million and $330 million respectively. The actual income for those two years was $318.5 million and $324.8

million or two per cent and 2.5 per cent deficit. Then in 2005 the income was $332.9 which was 2.5 per cent less than the

estimated amount of $341.98 million.

Dr Gonsalves said that when a minister could get his estimates right so often then it proves that he understands what is happening in his country.