by Linda Straker
- Government received a 3.4% increase in revenue for first half of 2019 compared to the same period for 2018
- Unemployment rate is presently under 17%
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has disclosed that government received a 3.4% increase in revenue for the first half of 2019 when compared to the same period for 2018.
“The total revenue for the first half of the year is almost EC$390 million which is 3.4% more than what was collected for the first half of 2018, and if the revenue is showing an increase, it means that the economic activities have increased, unless we got a windfall — and that has not happened,” Dr Mitchell told journalists at the Tuesday mornings weekly post-cabinet briefing on 30 July 2019.
Despite the overall positive news, data from the Ministry of Finance through its fiscal summary reports shows that during the months of March and June government received less than expected in revenue collection.
Current Revenue for January 2019 was $65 million, which was $1.5 million above the target and $0.1 million more than the collections for January 2018, while the Current Revenue for February 2019 was $59.3 million which was $1.8 million above the target and $2.8 million more than the collections for February 2018.
“Current Revenue for March 2019 was $67.2 million, $6.8 million less than the target and $1.9 million less than the collections for March 2018,” said that the report which is available on the Ministry of Finance website https://www.finance.gd/index.php/fiscal-reports
Current Revenue for April 2019 was $70.4 million, $6.1 million and $8.7 million more than the April 2019 target and the collections for April 2018 respectively while for the month of May 2019, the current revenue was $67.9 million, $3.0 million and $6.6 million more than the May 2019 target and the collections for May 2018 respectively. Current Revenue for June 2019 was $60.3 million, $6.0 million and $3.2 million less than the June 2019 target and the collections for June 2018 respectively.
Dr Mitchell who is Minister for Finance also disclosed that public debt is fallen by more than half since he returned to office in 2013. “In 2008 the public debt was more 110% of GDP now it’s 61%, so there is a tremendous drop and that is being lauded by international organisations.” Mitchell also disclosed that the unemployment rate is presently under 17%.
“Today the guaranteed debt stood and at 59.5% of GDP which is EC$1.924 billion dollars which marks a decrease of 4.4% from the same period in 2018 where the public debt was recorded at 63.9% of GDP which was then EC$2.0215 billion,” he outlined.
The Prime Minister said that one of the key things driving economic activities is private sector development. He used the opportunity to announce that within the coming years more than 700 hotel rooms will be added to the island’s hotel room stock through new investment and expansion of existing properties.