MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY ACTING PRIME MINISTER, THE HON. FREUNDEL STUART

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Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Freundel Stuart

Government’s Budget, setting out the Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the financial year 2009-2010 was today laid in Parliament.

Overview

It is estimated that Government’s total expenditure for the financial year 2009-2010, on the accrual basis, will be $3,614.3 million. When converted to the cash basis, total expenditure is $3,522.9 million, an increase of $303.2 million or 9.4% over the revised figure for 2008-2009. Of the amount approved for the 2009-2010, $3,014.2 million represents current expenditure, while $600.1 million represents capital expenditure and amortisation. 

Wages and salaries are expected to increase over the amount approved for 2007-2008 by $103.9 million or 13.4% to $876.5 million. The main contributing factor to this increase is the new public sector wages and salaries agreement for the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2010.

Expenditure on goods and services is expected to increase by $23.2 million or 5.2% to $471 million.  Current transfers are also projected to increase, rising by $83.4 million or 8.8% to $1,030.1 million mainly as a result of increased subventions to the Invest Barbados and the Barbados Tourism Authority, increased pensions and a new subvention for the Tourism Industry Relief Fund.

The repayment of principal and interest on Government’s debt is expected to account for $871.4 million compared to the revised projection of $826.2 million for 2008 – 2009.    

On the accrual basis, current revenue for the next fiscal year is projected at $2,792.2 million. On the cash basis current revenue is projected at $2,720.8 million, an increase of 1.1% over the approved revenue of $2,762.1 million for the financial year ending March 2009.

When amortisation of $395.6 million is taken into account, a deficit of $406.4 million on the cash basis is expected, representing 5.4% of GDP.  

The Estimates for the 2009 – 2010 fiscal year include provision for the following activities:

·         A current subvention of $157 million is being provided to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital;

·         A subvention of $90 million has been provided to the Barbados Tourism Authority to facilitate marketing and promotion;

·         The sum of $6 million has been provided for Constituency Empowerment;

·         Invest Barbados has been allocated the sum of $19 million to carry out its operations;

·         The Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. has been provided with a capital transfer of $15.3 million to undertake projects;

·         $0.5 million has been provided for an early warning system which would identify any changes in the various economic variables and allow adjustments to be made on a timely basis;

·         $19.2 million has been provided for the operation fee at Vaucluse;

·         $25 million has been provided for Edutech;

·         $2.5 million has been provided for the purchase of new vehicles for the Fire Service;

·         $1.5 million has been provided for the Revolving Seed Capital Fund;

·         $5.2 million has been provided for repairs and construction on secondary schools;

·         $3.3 million has been provided for the new ID Card Project at the Electoral Department;

·         $10.5 million for the ICC WT20 tournament which is to be held in 2010;

·         $6.5 million for the CARICOM Development Fund;

·         $11.6 million for the special project on road improvements;

·         $12 million for continuing works on Secondary, tenantry and subsidiary roads;

·         $10 million for the Tourism Industry Relief Fund.

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