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UPDATE: Budget $23M less, major spending projected

The 2018/2019 budget for the British Virgin Islands has decreased by 7.3 percent compared to the last fiscal year.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith announced a budget of $299,525,366 million for this year.

That figure is $23,587,265 million less than last year.

While delivering the Budget Address on Monday (March 19), the Premier also projected massive public expenditure for 2018.

The Finance Minister approximates that overall expenditure for this year  – including public debt – will be $352,816,500.

“This represents a 14.4 percent increase over the 2017 allocation of $308,187,131 million. This increased is firmly attributed that my government’s undertakings across various sectors and agencies in response to the ongoing recovery and reconstructive work,” he explained.

The Premier said based on the 2018 revenue projections, recurring expenditure, public debt, and governmenmt’s fund contributions; this year’s fiscal deficit will be about $53.2 million.

“This is the most difficult address in my tenure as finance minister,” Dr Smith said as he read the budget.

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16 Comments

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  1. ghost says:

    all the money gone in ndp bank

  2. Ford says:

    This is serious. Less money when it’s needed than ever before.

  3. Sam the man says:

    Just now our Islands need a massive increase in the budget not a decrease to aid recovery of vital schools, infrastructure and essential public services/ businesses – he really doesn’t have a clue does he! An embarrassing budget but then the “No Direction Party” NDP never stick to it anyway and overspend on every project and deliver it late ….So his address is about as relevant as a chocolate fire guard.

    • Hmph says:

      @sam
      Unfortunately you display all the traits of self entitlement that got the BVI into the mess it is now in.
      The Govt has to match income against expenditure. There is no point budgeting for money that is not going to come in.
      Many of the ex pats, who pay and produce most of the Govt income, have gone and aren’t coming back. We made them unwelcome for many years and now they have gone – Cayman is delighted to receive them and all their business.
      Poor BVI, no clue that it is the author of its own misfortune.

    • Albion says:

      Just to be clear, the budget show REVENUE as decreasing against last year (to $299M), but EXPENDITURE will increase (to $353M).

      That means that this year we will run at a deficit of $54M. That is inevitable given the decline in our income and the need to rebuild, but sooner or later that deficit must be paid for.

      • @what says:

        Thank goodness someone can actually read and UNDERSTAND the contents of the report. The dire misreading evidenced by most commenters here demonstrates much that is wrong with the BVI

  4. Online Now says:

    I am amazed that the budget hasn’t dropped by more. Surely that income is unlikely to be achieved?

  5. See says:

    Go ahead and keep chasing away the expats. They pay our bills and volunteer to rebuild our country . Be honest and look

    • Foolish says:

      Chasing what expats? Expats are returning to the BVI on a weekly basis, stop the fear mongering. Of course some had issues and had to leave but it’s not the majority.

  6. E. Leonard says:

    Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sep 2017 decimated thousands of residential properties, as well as businesses and public facilities, and the economy, reducing government revenue and GDP so it is not surprising that projected government revenues will be down for fiscal year 2017. However, based on the Premier’s budget presentation, projected revenues will be approx $299M (down 7.3% from fiscal year 2017—-$23M—-with projected expenditures estimated at $353M(up 14.4%—-$45M). This is an approx deficit of $54M, adding to the national debt.

    Clearly, government cannot spend money it does not have so how will the $54M deficit be made up? Is government estimating that it will take in significantly more revenue than projected? Will government have to borrow the $54M to make up the delta? Will the delta come from unreserved funds? Will a mid-year budget review be conducted and adjustments made as needed? Will vertical/horizontal cuts be initiated and if so what programmes/functions will be on the chopping block? Why government did not submit a balanced budget (expenditures=revenues)?

    Moreover, in another commentary, the indications were that there wouldn’t be any tax increases for fiscal year 2018. This is welcome news for struggling residents in the wake of the hurricane disasters. The lion share of government revenue comes from taxes and fees so given the need for more revenue for the recovery effort that taxes would not have been increased, if only nominally. Nonetheless, I will take a guess and assume that government is sacrificing revenues to promote economical growth.

  7. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Highly surprised that the calendar year 2018 budget is down less than 8% from the 2017 budget. The ravaging Cat 5 hurricanes, Irmaria, definitely had an adverse and painful impact on the service economy (tourism and financial services), employment, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and government revenue. Thus, is the 2018 budget projection too optimistic?

    Further, there appears to be a big disconnect between revenues and expenditures in the proposed 2018 budget. The projected revenues are $299,000,000.00 yet the proposed expenditures are $353, 000,0000.00 This equates to a deficit of $54,000,000.00. The big question is how will the $54, 000,000.00 deficit be adddress? Will government have to borrow $54,000,000.00 to make up the deficit? Deficit spending increases the national debt and this deficit will thrust and project the national debt upwards towards approximately $200, 000, 000.00. This number does not include the $721,000, 000.00 proposed 5-year hurricane recovery cost. Let’s not forget that the estimated recovery cost is $3, 600, 000, 000.00.

    Moreover, the territory has to incur a mountain of debt to recover from the devastating hurricanes and grow the economy, sustaining the standard of living and quality of life. Nonetheless, revenue streams need to be identified to pay back the incurred debt. Taxes and fees will have to be increased to pay back the loans.

    We must anticipate, expect and embrace this reality. There may not be a tax increase in 2018 but there will be in the following years; the BVI has no other means to fund the required borrowing. There will be no gain without the pain. It is a double body slam for BVI residents; they were blasted by the decimating hurricanes and now/future they have to incur and endure increase taxes to pay for the damages.

    The coming months or years will be a huge challenge for the VI/BVI yet a grand once in a life time opportunity to rebuild for the future, for the next generations of Virgin Islanders. We have to plan, programme, budget………etc to rebuild effectively with positive, long-term, long lasting outcomes. With this opportunity, we must realize/show value for money. Leh ve du dis ting rite mehson!

  8. Sums it up nicely.. says:

    The most thought through analysis as of yet..

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