BVI News

Amid COVID, how will gov’t fuel 2021 budget?

All eyes will be fixed on the House of Assembly on November 12 as Premier and Finance Minister, Andrew Fahie delivers one of the most important budget presentations in the history of the BVI.

As the entire economy has taken a battering from the global COVID-19 pandemic, residents eagerly wait to hear whether the budget for the 2021 fiscal year will be significantly more or less than $414,008,611 that was announced for 2020.

More importantly, residents are curious to hear how the government plans to finance its budget, especially since tourism and the financial services industry — the territory’s biggest revenue earners — have seen significant declines in recent times.

This is compounded by the fact that tourism — which accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the BVI’s economy and accounts for one in four jobs — is expected to have a ‘soft reopening’ or slow recovery for the first few months as visitors worldwide struggle to get comfortable with the new COVID-19 virus.

The slow recovery of tourism is also predicted because of the recent reopening protocols some deem too stringent and which reportedly led to several cancellations by tourists who were set to visit the BVI after December 1.

Remittance had started to earn major profits this year when the government imposed a seven percent tax on all monies leaving the BVI through money transfer agencies.

But the latest estimates published by the World Bank show that global remittances will decline by 14 percent by 2021.

This prediction is not in the BVI’s favour — a major migrant-hosting territory where expats make up some 70 percent of its workforce and fuel the remittance sector here in the BVI.

Premier Andrew Fahie has shared that it has no plans to cut the civil service. But with pressure mounting on all sides, could this become an option?

In a statement on the upcoming budget presentation, Premier Fahie said: “With this being our first budget speech since the onset of the pandemic, it is expected to be more than just about finances. It will be about continued stability, diversity, competitiveness, trade, and our people.”

Premier Fahie said that it is the government’s intention in this upcoming financial year to continue to ensure that its “legislative agenda and policies are aligned with the proposed budget so that the territory can experience overall success”.

The Premier did not give any hints as to how it expects to earn the revenue needed by his government.

But the big question remains: what income streams are going to take centre stage as the government tries to keep the economy afloat amid one of the worst pandemics to hit the world in recent times.

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  1. Soooo says:

    So this budget will be reviewed by the Brits as it’s their right to insure the solvency of the Territory. Thus, expect major smoke and mirrors from the Foy as there is no way that the Territory can sustain any meaningful budget based upon the present economic conditions. The Foy certainly knows that cutting civil service jobs and salaries will be political suicide so this all shall be interesting. Perhaps the best result will be the Brits placing an interim government, eliminating Belongership and allowing the BVI to properly grow without the political crooks constantly in the Territory’s coffers.

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  2. Hmmm says:

    Only way to make money would be to charge a departure fee as so many are leaving. Everything should have built back better after 2017. That’s what people do after war or natural disaster. We don’t seem interested in that as a territory and it has become more and more difficult to do business, to live etc and people are just finding it far better and more pleasant to use Singapore and Cayman and Channel Islands, and to holiday in other parts of the world but including our neighbours. We need a genuine onebvi initiative to get back in track otherwise we are on a downward spiral

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  3. Heckler says:

    These cats have nothing new up their sleeves. They are just riding the wave that was already there and adding nothing of substance. Next year will be a wash until late in the year when hopefully we will have a semblance of a tourist season.

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  4. Ok says:

    The money what them just seize… duh

  5. hmmm says:

    Well, looks like drug running is not an option anymore!

    Earning honest money is difficult. Perhaps it is time to care about your people and learn how the BVI economy works.

    Cut Government spending. We have far to many government employees. Stop lining your friends pockets various contracts.

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