Ecomomic outlook for SVG optimistic – CMMB
February 12, 2010

Ecomomic outlook for SVG optimistic – CMMB

The economic outlook for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is somewhat optimistic compared to a number of its Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) neighbors.{{more}}

This projection was made by financial services provider CMMB at a seminar held at The Grenadine House in Kingstown Park on Wednesday morning.

Using information from the 2010 budget presented by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, as well as statistics from the ECCU, a review of the budget was made.

Presenter Vangie Bhagoo, a Senior Research Analyst at the institution’s corporate office in Trinidad, took the filled Hairouna Conference room through a number of graphs and charts to show not only this country’s possible financial future, but also that of other ECCU members.

Looking back at the 2008 figures, the statistics showed that this country fared relatively better than some of its Caribbean counterparts with regard to the Gross Domestic Product growth and ‘extremely well’ compared to others.

The level of public debt and the country’s current account, though high, were deemed favorable when measured against other territories.

According to Bhagoo, a number of social safety nets that were implemented to cushion the rising food and fuel prices and were expected to continue (reduced tariffs on food items, support payments to persons enrolled in the public assistance program etc.) will soften the effects of inflation.

The ongoing construction on the Argyle International Airport and other construction projects are expected to support domestic activity for the next two years, and the Value Added Tax (VAT) had exceeded expectations from both a compliance and revenue perspective, which was a plus for government income.

Bhagoo, in her presentation, noted that the global slowdown is expected to reduce remittances and the demand for export of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ goods and services.

Some recommendations made by the presenter included the strengthening of public and private sector partnerships, the pursuit of economic diversification, the need for stimulation of the economy and setting the stage for a sustained growth, as well as the empowerment of households and poverty reduction.