St Vincent PM says improvement in local economy during 1Q
THE economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines improved during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2013, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament yesterday.
"The fiscal out turn on the numbers presented are better than last year but I want to give a few details which would show positive signs and for us to issue a caution that we are not yet out of the woods," he said in response to a question from Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.
Gonsalves said total revenue and grants for the first quarter of 2014 was EC$174.86 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents), compared to EC$147.9 million in the same period of 2013.
Current revenue was EC$174 million, EC$30 million more than the same period of 2013, while total expenditure was EC$179.26 million, 5.6 per cent more than 2013, when the figure was EC$169.7 million.
Of the total expenditure, recurrent expenditure in the first third of 2014 was EC$161.5 million, compared to EC$159.79 year-on-year.
Capital expenditure increased by 78.3 per cent - from EC$9.9 million to EC$17.9 million.
The current account reflected a balance of EC$12.86, compared to a deficit of EC$14.85 million in 2013.
The overall balance was a deficit of EC$4.4 million, while it was a deficit of EC$1.8 million in 2013.
Gonsalves said there was substantial improvement in stamp duties and in alien land holding licenses, accounting for the month of April being "a pretty good month".
He said, however, that May is not such a good month for revenue, adding that some months are better than others.
Gonsalves told Parliament that earnings from taxes on international transactions, international trade, and value-added tax on international transactions increased by four per cent, 1.6 per cent, and 2.9 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, earnings from taxes on domestic transactions, and VAT on domestic transactions also registered increases, Gonsalves said, adding that this would indicate an uptick in economic activity.
Gonsalves further noted that his Government had promised to provide to the Carnival Development Corporation the increase in excise duties on certain alcoholic beverages.
However, excise duties are actually down in the first third of the year, he told lawmakers.
Gonsalves said that while consumption of alcoholic beverages have not decreased, there is an effective contraband system that has to be addressed for improved collection of excise duties.