CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration, presented a $237.2million budget free of new taxes, when he delivered the 2021 Budget Address in two hours at a sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly at Hamilton House on December 8.
With the theme “Rebuilding our Economy; a people-cantered approach to economic recovery,” the Finance Minister noted that the budget is tailored to rebuilding the island’s economy.
“The budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2021 is set at $237.2 million,” said Hon. Brantley. “We have allocated $174.9 million to recurrent spending representing 73 percent of the total budgeted expenditure.”
Regarding the revenue collection, the Finance Minister noted that the effects of COVID-19 have been taken into account.
“Having considered the uncertain negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, my Administration is projecting collection of $128.2 million in Recurrent Revenue, which represents a projected decrease of 8 percent, when compared to the projected revenue of $139.5 million for the fiscal year 2020.
“We expect our Recurrent Revenue to be augmented by the remittance of at least $45 million from the Federal Government representing our share of revenue from the CBI Program,” said Brantley. “Our combined total Recurrent Revenue is therefore projected at $173.2 million for the upcoming 2021 fiscal period. When compared to the projected Recurrent Expenditure of $174.9 million provides a deficit on the recurrent budget of $1.7 million.”
For Capital Expenditure an amount of $62.3 million has been allocated which represents a 10.2 percent reduction, when compared to the amount of $69.4 million allocated for the fiscal year 2020.
The key areas of major allocation for expenditure are:
• The Office of the Premier – $7.7 million representing 3.2 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated to support the security services in the fight against criminal activities.
• The Ministry of Finance – $80.6 million representing 33.9 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated to meet Debt Servicing obligations.
• The Ministry of Communications and Works et al – $34.2 million representing 14.4 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated for infrastructure development programme, namely the upgrading of the road network, maintaining of government buildings and other structures, along with provisions for upgrading the water services.
• The Ministry of Agriculture et al – $12.6 million representing 5.3 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated for our food sustainability and security, disaster mitigation and upgrading of the processing facilities.
• The Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs – $35.6 million representing 15 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated for providing improvements in the quality and delivery of health care, an increase in the remuneration for nurses along with the completion of construction work under the Alexandra Hospital Expansion Programme.
• The Ministry of Education, Library Services and Information Technology – $34.2 million representing 14.4 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated for the delivery of quality education to the people of Nevis, executing work under the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Enhancement Programme and general maintenance of educational facilities.
• The Ministry of Social Development, Culture, Youths and Sports – $16.1 million representing 6.7 percent of the total budget. Included in this amount are funds allocated for the delivery of the social protection agenda and improvements to sporting facilities.
Brantley said that funding for the capital budget will be comprised of loan funding where applicable from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board, the Sustainable Growth Fund from the Government of China (Taiwan), and other grant funding from regional and international partners. The NIA will also seek loan funding from other financial entities at concessionary rates not exceeding 4 percent per annum to complete the financing of Capital works.
Brantley gave the assurance that the NIA would not be reckless in its spending.
“We will only seek to undertake projects if the funding is available or can be accessed at low cost in accordance with our debt management strategy,” said Brantley. “Where funding cannot be accessed at concessionary rates, we will curtail our expenditure programme and carry forward to the fiscal period 2022 any projects which were not executed due to lack of approved financing.”