MINISTER OF FINANCE and Economic Planning, Camillo Gonsalves.
December 16, 2022
Finance Minister presents Estimates for 2023 amounting to EC$1,445,886,613

The Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the 2023 fiscal year amounting to EC $1,445,886,613 were presented in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, December 13.
Presented by Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, the package represents an almost nine per cent increase on the Budget Estimates for 2022.

In the breakdown, Minister Gonsalves explained that the Estimates consists of recurrent expenditure, inclusive of amortization and sinking fund contributions, totalling $974,323,500 and capital expenditure of $471,563,113.

Financing for the 2023 budget is expected to come from current revenue of $761,431,200 and capital receipts of $684,455,414.

He further said the 2023 current expenditure, exclusive of amortization and sinking fund contributions, amounts to $771,708,113 while the current revenue is estimated at $761,431,200 resulting in a current deficit of $10.3 million in the 2023 Estimates.

The total estimated recurrent expenditure, inclusive of amortization and sinking fund contributions is $974.3 million, a $42.5 million increase on the amount budgeted in 2022.

The changes recorded to the recurrent expenditure, he said, include an increase in the current expenditure by 6.1 per cent as well as a 1.2 per cent decrease in amortization.

Compensation of employees is expected to increase by $19.8 million while transfers of social assistance, training, grants and contributions to local, regional and international organizations is expected to increase by $13.0 million.

Minister Gonsalves said an analysis of the capital budget “by main functional classification heads” shows that $376.3 million of the capital budget is accounted for by four main areas which include $235.9 million for Economic Affairs; $69.9 million for Environmental Protection; $36.7 million for Health and $33.7 million for Social Protection of poor and vulnerable individuals.

Under the Capital Programme, Minister Gonsalves noted the 2023 budget and “the two forward years” will see increased attention being paid to tourism, construction and agriculture, adding that the capital budget for 2023 accounts for a 82 per cent increase of $386.5 million of the capital estimates for the previous year.

To finance the $684.5 million capital budget for 2023, $100.2 million will be raised from domestic sources including revenue from the sale of government assets, namely crown lands to the tune of $1.0 million while local loans in the sum of $99.2 million will also be raised.

Loans, grants and other receipts will account for $584.3 million of the capital budget and will be sourced from donors including $5.7 million from the European Union; $28 million from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund; $7.2 million from The Caribbean Development Bank; and from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), $1.3 million.

The Minister said St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will also receive grants totalling $23.6 million from a number of friendly governments including Taiwan, Japan, Morocco and India.

In respect of total external loans of $289.7 million expected to be raised in 2023, $234.2 million will come from multilateral creditors and $55.5 million will be raised from bilateral sources.

On the issue of the public debt, the Finance Minister said that as at September 30, 2022, the total public debt amounted to $2,166,560,802, a 4.1 percent increase on the total disbursed outstanding public debt for the comparative period in 2021.

The total Domestic Debt stood at $555.0 million as of September 30, 2022 an increased by 6.3 percent when compared with the domestic debt for the same period in 2021.

The external debt for the period stood at $1.611 billion, an increase of 3.4 percent when compared with the external debt as at September 30, 2021.

RELATED ARTICLE: Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday has blasted the 2023 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure claiming that his inability to communicate the source of funding for 30 per cent of the external receipts is deceitful and breeds mistrust.