St Vincent: 83 million for supplementary spending

| April 3, 2014
CaribDirect writer Robertson Henry

Robertson S. Henry. Sports and Cultural Contributor

TUESDAY MARCH 02, 2014; KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – Caribbean news. Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves this morning laid before the House of Assembly the 2014 Supplementary Estimates of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Bill as laid by Prime Minister Gonsalves is to sanction payments for unforeseen circumstances from the Consolidated Fund, according to Section 48(2) of the Finance Act of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The amount of monies is to be spent in addition to the 2014 budgetary allocations, which were approved by the Vincentian House of Assembly earlier this year in January 2014.

With damages to infrastructure amounting to approximately EC$350 million or 17-percent of the the nations’s GDP, the Ralph Gonsalves led government had no choice but to inject additional financial resources to undertake the daunting recovery effort.

Over 600 houses had damages of one level or another; 540 had levels 1 and 2 damages, while 122 had levels 3 and 4 damages.

Additionally livestock was lost along with widespread damage to agriculture, nine persons lost their lives, and normal life was changed all across the island by approximately nine inches of rains, which fell in about three hours.

The total figure for the Supplementary Estimates is EC$83,980,800.00 which would be spent primarily amongst four ministries, namely Housing, Works and Transport, Agriculture, and Finance.

EC$11 million goes to recurrent expenditures, and EC$72,980,800.00 goes to capital expenditure. About EC$2.8 million will go to the Ministry of Agriculture in addition to the EC$6 million already allocated for the farmer loans assistance programme.

The Ministry of Works will receive the lion’s share of the funds amounting to EC$44 million along with the EC$11 million which has been given to BRAGSA for works. The funds are obtained from grants, which amount to approximately EC$21 million, with certain amounts coming from the World Bank, Mexico, and Taiwan amongst contributors.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves laying the Supplementary Estimates

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves laying the Supplementary Estimates

About non-grant contributions to the tune of about EC$31 million will come from various sources including the Climate Investment Fund and AIDA, along with the Disaster Relief Fund. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Arhnim Eustace well indicating some level of support for the Supplementary Estimates stated that there is a need to put St. Vincent and the Grenadines back on the path to recovery.

He questioned the method the Bill was prepared, adding that as a people, Vincentians do no pay sufficient attention to their country’s finances. The Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Finance told the Assembly that from a resource standpoint, the Supplementary Budget is financed primarily from grants and soft loans.

According to Prime Minister Gonsalves, the monies are expected very soon, and that more engineers and quantity surveyors are needed to implement projects here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In short, he pointed out that capacity is needed in this regard. (Robertson S. Henry/robertsons.henry@gmail.com)

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