Grenada’s third billion dollar budget was presented at the Grenada Trade Centre on Wednesday with emphasis on strengthening public institutions, fiscal discipline and, once again, job creation.
The first billion dollar budget was presented by the National Democratic Congress for 2012 and the second by the present administration for 2013.
Once the preliminary matters were out of the way Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Keith Mitchell presented to the nation and Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure that projected a total expenditure (including principal payments) of one billion, one hundred and fifty-two million, two hundred and thirty four thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven dollars.
As the document explained Recurrent revenue will account for $545.4 million, Recurrent expenditure $582.7; Current Account Surplus, $62.7 million; Primary Surplus (after grants), $65.6 million; Capital Expenditure; $312.3 million; Principal Payments/Amortization, $357.3 million, resulting in and overall deficit of $36.5 million.
Again debt repayment tops the allocations, being allotted $459.3 million or 39.9% of total expenditure. This represents a significant increase over last year’s $280.4 million allocation of 30% of total expenditure.
Other sectors identified for the seven largest allocations are: Ministry of Education and Human Resources-$114.1 million (9.9% of total expenditure; Ministry of Finance and Energy-90.3 or 7.0%; Ministry of Youth and Sport-$67.5 million; Ministry of Health-$64.0 million; Ministry of Works-$58.8 million and pensions and gratuities account for $48.4 Million.
An interesting phrase from the Minister of Finance said, The 2015 Budget represents the second year of the Home-grown Programme and is consistent with our obligations set out in the Letter of Intent with the IMF.
The proclaimed all important sectors of Agriculture and Fisheries were allocated $31.9 million, Tourism and Culture got $26.3 million with smaller allocations for Energy Development, Information Telecommunication Technologies, Trade and Export Development and Support for Small Business Development.
The Minister of Finance, much as he did last year made copious reference to many private sector development projects coming on stream which will result in the creation of thousands of jobs both temporary and permanent.
In his summation, the Grenada economy is on the rise, the unemployment figures are dropping rapidly and citizens have all reasons to be optimistic.
The Grenada Informer will give a more detailed analysis of the budget next week.