Government???s Budget, setting out the Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the financial year 2014-2015, was laid in Parliament on Tuesday, March 11.
It is estimated that Government???s current revenue for the financial year 2014-2015, on the accrual basis, will be $2,493.2 million, current expenditure (exclusive of amortisation) $2,964.5 million, and capital expenditure $321.7 million. While the projections on an accrual basis show a net operating balance of negative $530.8 million, when converted to the cash basis there is a fiscal balance of $592.9 million and an overall fiscal deficit of $1,395.3 million on the Accountant General???s basis.
Current transfers are also projected to decrease from the revised amount in 2013-2014 by $212.5 million or 17.7 per cent to $989.4 million.
Wages and Salaries are expected to decrease from the revised amount for 2013-2014 by $9.4 million or 1.2 per cent to $793.5 million. This reduction only partially reflects the first tranche of Central Government???s retrenchment programme.
Expenditure on goods and services is expected to decrease by $4.3 million from the revised figure for 2013-2014 to $390.7 million. Among the reductions made are those to the National Conservation Commission and the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Company in respect of expected staff reductions; Urban Development Commission and Rural Development Commission in respect of expected restructuring; and the Sanitation Service Authority as that entity is expected to raise additional revenue which will offset the reduction.??It should be noted that the Ministry of Finance anticipates that during the 2014-2015 financial year it will have to provide supplementaries to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of the West Indies (UWI) to cover economic costs and the Transport Board.
Interest payments in 2014-2015 are expected to increase over the 2013-2014 revised figure by $45.1 million or 7.3 per cent to $660.0 million. Amortisation of $802.5 million represents an increase of $76.3 million or 10.5 per cent over the 2013-2014 revised figure.??On the cash basis, current revenue is projected at $2,478.4 million, an increase of $275.8 million or 12.5 per cent over the revised 2013-2014 level.
When amortisation is excluded, a deficit of $592.9 million on the cash basis is expected, representing 6.9 per cent of GDP.
The Estimates for the 2014???2015 fiscal year include provision for the following activities:
(i) A current subvention of $145.5 million is being provided to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital;
(ii) A subvention of $97.8 million has been provided to the Barbados Tourism Authority to facilitate marketing and promotion;
(iii) Invest Barbados has been allocated the sum of $6.5 million to carry out its operations;
(iv) $8.5 million has been provided to the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. to carry out work on capital projects;
Grant funding of $65.0 million is expected to be received as budgetary support and also to assist in carrying out the following programmes:??Human Resource Sector Strategy and Skills Development;??School Plan Enhancement & Refurbishment Programme;??Technical Cooperation Facility and Support to Non-State Actors; and
(v) A current subvention of $26.6 million and a capital subvention of $2.4 million have been provided to the Sanitation Service Authority;
(vi) An amount of $11.0 million has been provided to the Barbados Drug Service for the purchase of drugs;
(vii) A current subvention of $71.3 million has been provided to the University of the West Indies;
(viii) $20.1 million to cover UWI tuition fees;
(ix) A current subvention of $19.0 million has been provided to the Welfare Department;
(x) Skills for the Future Programme under the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation has been provided with an amount of $8.4 million;
(xi) The Low Income Housing Project under the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development has been provided with $3.3 million;
(xii) $5.0 million for the Health Information System;
(xiii) $6.2 million Amalgamated Public Health Lab;
(xiv) $19.6 million to bring to account the Barbados Water Authority???s IDB project;
(xv) $10.7 million for the new school meals centre; and
(xvi) $9.2 million to complete the Lodge School under the Edutech program.