The Grenada government Wednesday presented an EC$1.1 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) budget to parliament with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell indicating that most of the funding going towards the repayment of the public debt, which at the end of this year is estimated to be nearly 56 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Mitchell, presenting the fiscal package under the theme “Towards Vision 2035, empowering our Communities, growing our Economy, Protecting our environment, strengthening our institution,” said that Grenada is expected to continue its strong fiscal performance for 2020.
“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,” the Finance Minister said.
He said that the public debt ratio is on a decline moving from 108 per cent in 2013, to 62.7 last year and projected to be 55.8 per cent by the end of the year.
“It is instructive to note that this expected outturn is not only below 60 per cent target established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) but it will also be achieved way ahead of the 2030 deadline,” he told legislators.
Mitchell said that the figures underscores his administration’s desire “to stay the course of fiscal responsibility” adding that “the reduction in the repayment obligation reduces the burden on future generations and creates the space needed to advance developmental programmes that would keep this nation on the path of growth and development.
“We cannot play games with the future of our children and grandchildren. Oftentimes, I am shocked by the flippant remarks made about amending the Fiscal Responsibility Law merely to accommodate the demands being made by a few persons. Mr. Speaker, Grenada is deriving too many benefits from being fiscally prudent to alter that course,” Mitchell said, urging Grenadians to pay close attention to the numerous benefits the island stands to lose, if it foregoes fiscal prudence.
The government said that Recurrent Revenue is estimated at EC$786.2 million, while Recurrent Expenditure is pegged at EC$633.7 million.
In his budget presentation, Mitchell said that as his government continues with its efforts to protect the environment, by June 2020, it will introduce a ban on the importation of vehicles exceeding 10 years and will also introduce a 50 per cent duty reduction on the importation of electric and hybrid vehicles.
By June 2020 Grenada is also expected to restrict the importation of a number of single-use plastic products including cutlery and plastic bags.
Government said it would be also be taking measures to repeal a number license fee which have not been providing revenue to the state. These include video rental outlets, sale of latrine units, hostels and home economic training.