Minister of Finance Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has revealed the economic and fiscal projections for this year in his presentation of the 2010 National Budget Address. On Tuesday, Dr. Douglas told the nation that economic output in the first half of 2009 in St. Kitts and Nevis had contracted at a rate of 7.3% and it was time for Ministries and Departments to “do more with less”. He said as the global economic crisis persists it is likely that a negative impact on remittances, tourism receipts and Foreign Direct Investment will dampen prospects for growth in the Federation. “Our economy appears to be under threat from the global crisis, which is abating only very slowly. In addition, it is apparent that the global economy will throw new challenges with increasing frequency in the years ahead. Hence, we must accelerate the pace at which we reduce the public debt in absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP. So long as our public debt continues to be excessive, the ability of the government to cope with crises will be hampered and the risk we face in respect of exogenous shocks emanating from an increasingly uncertain global economy would be elevated,” he said. According to the Budget Address, Recurrent Revenue for 2010 has been estimated at $432,939,051 representing a decrease of $20,585,547 or 4.5% below the 2009 estimate of $453,524,598. Recurrent Expenditure has also decreased, from $447,013,550 in 2009 to $430,030,842 in 2010. The Current Account Balance projected for 2010 is $2,908,211 while the primary balance anticipated is $187,693,301 or 12.8% of GDP. Capital Revenue for 2010, including grants, loans and sale of assets, is projected at $136,078,295- an increase of $1,704,611 or 1.27% over the $134,373,684 estimated for 2009. $142,873,684 On the other hand, Capital Expenditure for 2010 is projected to decrease By 10.4% from $111,490,441 in 2009 to $99,904,744. However, The Observer notes that according to the 2009 Budget Address as delivered on December 16 By then Minister of Finance Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, Capital Revenue projections for 2009 was $142,873,684. As it relates to budgetary allotments for the various ministries, Dr. Douglas’ portfolio received the lion’s share with $14,103,908 going to the Office of the Prime Minister, $172,139,968 to the Ministry of Finance and $18,194,624 for Sustainable Development. The Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs has been provided with $8,957,048 compared to $8,076,394 in 2009. National Security, Immigration and Labour has been allocated $46,976,686 for 2010, a decrease of $1,751,839 from the $48,728,525 in 2009. The Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been allocated $3,297,583; an increase of 22.5% over the 2009 estimate. Social and Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs has been allocated $15,685,622, a 4.8% increase over the 2009 allocation. Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Constituency Empowerment has been provided with a total allocation of $7,678,319 which represents a 3.1 % decrease below the previous year. $17,947,358 has been allocated to the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport for 2010 while Housing, Public Works, Energy and Public Utilities has been allotted $104,903,810. That ministry was allotted $99,843,441 the previous year. Ministry of Education and Information has been provided with $61,900,465 compared to $73,980,276 in 2009. $34,879,609 has been provided to the Ministry of Health, down from $35,797,704 in 2009. The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Posts has been allocated $12,678,129 for 2010. The 2010 allocation for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs increased from $12,614,724 in 2009 to $13,227,357 in 2010. Dr. Douglas informed that the government achieved a Primary Balance Surplus of $122.9 million, a 25.9% improvement over the previous year’s surplus of $97.6 million. He said this was the fourth consecutive year in which a Primary Surplus was realized.
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