KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has presented Parliament with a EC$799.1 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) national budget outlining increased taxes and predicting economic growth for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2013.
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is expected to respond later on Tuesday to the fiscal package that Prime Minister Gonsalves said underscored his administration’s determination to continue the economic growth the island had been experiencing in recent times.
Government had last month presented Parliament with the estimates of the fiscal package that showed a marginal increase on last year’s figures and comprise recurrent expenditure of EC$622.2 million and capital expenditure of EC$176.8 million.
In his presentation on Monday evening, Gonsalves said that the country is expecting economic growth in spite of the ongoing global economic crisis.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is showing tentative signs of a slow recovery after three years of negative growth, 2008, 2009, and 2010 inclusive.
“In 2011 real gross domestic product grew by 0.4 per cent and in 2012 real economic growth is estimated at 1.53 per cent. For 2013, the real growth of 1.5 per cent is also projected and at least a four per cent real growth is also projected by our government in the midterm, slightly in excess of the IMF (International Monetary Fund ) projection of just over three per cent.”
But Gonsalves told legislators there is need to do better “even in the midst of the global economic uncertainties”.