CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (NIA) -- Premier of Nevis and minister of finance, Vance Amory, presented a $171.02 million budget for the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), with no new taxes, when he delivered the 2014 Budget Address, at a sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on Wednesday, with the theme, “Facilitating Macro-economic Stability, inclusive Growth and Employment.”
Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance Vance Amory delivering the Nevis Island Administration’s 2014 Budget Address at a sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on December 18, 2013
Amory noted that personal emoluments would take up the lion’s share of the Administration’s planned expenditure for 2014.
“The NIA intends to spend $171.02 million in 2014; $126.85 million will be on current expenditure and $44.17 million on capital investment. This calculates to an allocated ratio between current and capital expenditure of approximately 74 to 26 percent respectively.
“The most significant current expenditure is for personal emoluments, which amounts to $62.55 million or 49.31 percent of total recurrent expenditure, and the payment for debt servicing amounting to $26.50 million or 20.89 percent of total recurrent expenditure,” he said.
The minister of finance also indicated that the use of the public purse would see policies implemented, that would bring benefits to the people of Nevis.
“The administration will embrace new initiatives to invigorate the expansion in our economic sectors and the provision of services in health, education and social development.
“These initiatives will be fuelled by resources in total revenue and grants of $140.04 million; an increase of 6.64 percent over the budget for 2013. Grant revenue which includes development aid and budget support will amount to EC$14.24 million. Additionally, loans of $21.92 million will be sourced to assist in the financing of needed capital investments,” he said.
According to Amory, current revenue of the budget constituted 89.83 percent of the total revenue while the projected current revenue of $125.80 million was 2.26 percent higher than in 2013.
He stated that the ministry of finance would account for 86.25 percent of current revenue, with $93.28 million generated from taxes. Direct taxes would account for 13.47 percent and indirect taxes 60.67 percent of that total. The budget for the most significant indirect tax, the value added tax [VAT], would be $34.42 million.
“The Customs and Inland Revenue Departments are expected to collect $39.09 million and $54.39 million respectively. Meanwhile, revenue collected from the Financial Services Department is set to increase to $13.56 million, due to anticipated growth in international insurance and registered offshore entities and a small increase in fees.
“The Premier’s Ministry is expected to collect $8.98 million, of which the Supply Office projection is $7 million. The Water Department on the other hand is projected to collect $6.27 million,” the Finance Minister noted.
Amory disclosed that his Cabinet continued to focus on proactive fiscal policies which would generate stable revenue inflow and not restrict the growth of the private sector nor inhibit foreign investment.
“The ambit of our policies will facilitate inclusive growth as the most potent tool to generate employment and a positive future for our people.
“Subsequently, private sector expansion will be supported through targeted tax incentives in sectors such as tourism and agriculture and the spending priorities will harness improvements in public infrastructure, social protection and overall operational efficiency, to obtain the best value for our tax payers and our people generally,” he said.
Civil servants on Nevis will receive a 10 percent increase in pay over the next three years and a return of annual increments.
Amory said, in spite of the economic challenges, the payment would be made from January 2014 and would span a three-year period.
“In spite of the economic challenges, my government has agreed to implement the 10 percent salary increase that was initiated by the federal government. Since the introduction of the International Monetary Fund programme, the civil servants have made sacrifices foregoing annual increments. This package will provide some relief as well as make the public sector wages more competitive in attracting the best talents.
“A four percent increase will take effect in January 2014 to be followed by three percent increases in 2015 and 2016 for both civil servants and pensioners. I would like to encourage all civil servants to continue to increase productivity and efficiency as these are the bases on which government could sustain salary increases in the future,” he said.