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Dr Keith Mitchell, prime minister, Grenada (File photo)

Grenada Prime Minister presents EC$1.1 billion budget

Dr Keith Mitchell, prime minister, Grenada (File photo)

Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, presented an EC$1.1 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) budget to parliament today.

– Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell

The repayment of public debt, estimated at 56 per cent of gross domestic product, will account for much of the budgetary spend, Dr Mitchell indicated.

“Grenada’s fiscal position continues to be strong, with an expected primary surplus after grants if 6.8 per cent of GDP, at the end of 2019. This performance is anchored in our adherence to the Fiscal Responsibility Act and backed by continuous reforms in both the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs and Excise Division,” Dr Mitchell said.

“The review will also provide concrete recommendations to strengthen expenditure controls and the institutional mechanism for expenditure management…”

– Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell

Additionally, public debt ratio has declined from 108 per cent in 2013, to 62.7 per cent in 2018. Mitchell said it is projected to be 55.8 per cent by the end of the year.

Mitchell also said a number of environmental changes will be implemented come next year, including bans on single-use plastic products and the  halving of duties on the importation of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The government will undertake a comprehensive review of its recurrent and capital expenditure as part of efforts to improve accountability in the public service, Mitchell said.

“The review will also provide concrete recommendations to strengthen expenditure controls and the institutional mechanism for expenditure management, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending.”

He also spoke to the agreements brokered between the government and several trade unions representing public sector workers, particularly teachers, who will now receive a roughly four per cent increase for three consecutive years.

“Compounded and in real terms, this amounts to a 13.5 per cent increase over three years. In addition Mr Speaker, with effect from January 2020, contributions to the NIS (National Insurance Scheme) would increase by one per cent; therefore the effective increase to public officers is five per cent.

-CMC