In a Budget Address that lasted for more than 1 hour and 45 minutes, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) presented a conservative budget of $399.33M for 2023, which represented a decrease of $21.17M compared to the revised budgeted expenditure for 2022.
The National Budget was presented today, November 29, 2022, under the theme ‘Resilience, Revenue, Reform and Recovery: The Virgin Islands
Giving his address at the Ninth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly, (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Dr Wheatley said the budget, “represents a simple but largely comprehensive matrix of what we have accomplished this year and what the priorities and parameters of our mission in the upcoming year and beyond should be, given the international geopolitical and economic climate and the situation closer to home.”
$335.05M Recurrent Expenditure
Of the $399.33M budgeted, $335.08M is for Recurrent Expenditure, $41.59M for Capital Expenditure, $15.52M for repayment of the principal on debts, and $7.15M for contributions to various statutory funds.
The Finance Minister, presenting his first budget since becoming Premier of the Unity Government in May of this year, said the technical experts at the Ministry of Finance projected revenues to be $373. 03M. This he said is an increase of 11.68M over 2022’s actual revenue $361.35M.
He said they anticipate $352.64M of revenues to come from receipts of taxes and 20.39M from other revenue sources.
Capital Expenditure of $41.59M is budgeted to facilitate Development Projects. This Premier Wheatley said will be funded via $21.18M from the Recurrent Surplus, $10.77M in loan funds from the Caribbean Development Bank Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Loan, $2.41M from the Consolidated Fund, $2.22M from the Transportation Network Fund and $5M from insurance proceeds in the Development Fund.
$128.2 M for Employee Compensation
Meanwhile, $128.2M is allocated for Employee Compensation, $85.65M for goods and services, and $81.23M for grants to parastatals, statutory bodies, and other organizations and international bodies based on existing commitments.
He said the Unity Government has also made provisions of $8.55M for property and other expenses; $1.5M for subsidies; $6.6M for interest payments and $22.55M for social benefits.
According to Dr. Wheatley, through prudent financial management, the Ministry of Finance projects a Recurrent Surplus of approximately $36.7M.
He said $21.18 M from the Recurrent Surplus will be transferred to the Development Fund.
More details to follow.