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Tuesday, January 24, 2006 

St Vincent PM to present budget on Monday


by Kenton ChanceCaribbean Net News St Vincent Correspondent
Email: kenton@caribbeannetnews.com

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent:

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, will Monday afternoon present an EC$580,983,263 budget for the 2006 fiscal year after parliament approved the estimates last Tuesday.

This year’s budget is EC$6,112,036 or 1 per cent lower than the 2005 figure and Gonsalves said the “modest decline” resulted from a 20 percent decrease in capital expenditure. The recurrent outlays of the budget amounts to $415,520,943 and the capital budget $165,465,320.

Gonsalves, whose ULP was returned last December for a second term, said there will be no increases in tax or the tax rate but his administration would, however, beef up the tax collection agencies.

“In the 2006 fiscal year, it is expected that the revenue will remain buoyant not because of increases in taxes or tax rate but by becoming better at collecting an administering existing taxes at existing tax rates,” Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance said.

“We are not increasing the taxes, we are not increasing the rates but we are increasing the efficiency so we have to beef up the various departments that collect the taxes so that what is to be collected the government gets it,” the head of government added.

Gonsalves said the public (national) debt at September 30 stood at $962.21 million. This figure reflects direct central government debts and debts owed by public enterprises guaranteed by government.

“In 2006, as in the years previously under this administration, a greater effort will be made and has been made in these estimates to ensure that these capital programmes is maintained within our capacity to borrow while at the same time balancing our need to develop infrastructure critical to the continued advancement of SVG,” Gonsalves said.

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