Minister of Finance of St Vincent and the Grenadines Camillo Gonsalves presented the 2021 Budget estimates in the House of Assembly today, noting the country is facing a lot of uncertainty this year.
SVG’s 2021 Budget estimate is just over EC1.2 billion dollars, which represents a 2.2 per cent increase over the approved budget for 2020.
The current expenditure for 2021 is estimated at 698 million dollars, the current revenue is estimated at 647.4 million while a projected current account deficit of 50.7 million dollars is included in these estimates.
The Finance minister says the 2021 current revenue of 647.4 million represents a 4.8 per cent or 32.7 million dollars decrease below the amount budgeted in 2020.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has projected lower current revenues in 2021. The deterioration in recent performance is reflective of the slow down on economic activity projected this year and the tax policy stance taken as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of December 31, 2020, the total public debt stood at just over one billion dollars.
Gonsalves says there is no sugar coating that 2021 will be a challenging year and a great deal of that is due to the complexity of the uncertainties the country faces at the beginning of the year.
He says: “We don’t know what the impact of COVID-19 will be on the local, international and regional economy. We don’t know when we will return to normalcy in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We don’t know what the La Soufriere volcano intends to do in the year 2021.”
The Finance Minister says SVG must prepare for the worst but hope for the best as La Soufriere can have economic implications even as the country prepares for the hurricane season or a drought event.