St. Lucia's Government proposes billion dollar budget for new fiscal … –

The St. Lucia government says it intends to spend an estimated EC$$1.856 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) during the 2023-24 fiscal year, promising to restore the social and economic fundamentals, necessary for growing the economy.
Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre has tabled the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and debate on the fiscal package is continuing here on Friday.
But he told legislators that the COVID-19 pandemic and its debilitating effects on the economic and social landscape of the country has left many persons poorer and, in some cases, “destitute.
“We will increase the allocation towards poverty reduction. My government intends to provide relief to those persons through the continuation of our many  social programs and by collaborating with social partners, committed to  providing relief to those people.”
Pierre said that in support of his administration’s plans for economic expansion,  the government intends to create an enabling environment for businesses to expand and be profitable.
“In the upcoming financial year, my government will be rolling out a number of programs and initiatives to support MSMEs, (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) empower the youth through the Youth Economy Agency, ensure the benefits of tourism are islandwide through the Community Tourism Project, provide for food security through the Blue Economy and diversification of the agricultural sector.”
He said the budget is estimated at EC$1.856 billion with EC$1.442 billion to be spent on
Recurrent Expenditure, EC$302.14 million on Capital Expenditure, EC$218.93 million on interest payments, and EC$112.25 million on principal payments.
The government is anticipating revenue to be  EC$1.558 billion comprising of tax revenue of EC$1.260 billion, non-tax revenue of EC$153.0 million with EC$7.6 million going towards capital revenue and EC$147.04 million in grants.
Pierre said that the statisticians are predicting a further increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) for the calendar year “as GDP is projected at approximately six billion dollars n as compared to EC$5.5 billion in the current financial year.
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