The 2022/2023 budget debate is scheduled to begin within the House of Assembly today, Thursday twenty eighth April.
All 17 parliamentarians are expected to reply to the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Administration’s budgetary proposals, though uncertainty stays over the speaking time slot of Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet if he indeed makes a contribution to the talk.
PM Pierre’s first budget as Minister for Finance, Economic Development and The Youth Economy, is geared toward repairing and reworking the economy, with the island’s youth to play a number one role, through the Youth Economy.
During his budget address on April 26, the Minister for Finance highlighted quite a few examples of reckless mismanagement of the nation’s funds throughout the 2016-2021 period of UWP rule. Much of the mismanagement related to large infrastructural projects: Hewanorra International Airport (HIA), St. Jude Hospital (SJH), and the John Compton Adam in Roseau.
PM Pierre reassured the nation that while investigations proceed into how hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted under the Chastanet administration, his administration will proceed and complete these mismanaged projects.
The $1.8 Billion budget, the largest within the island’s history, comes at a time when the island (and the world) is facing the steepest food and energy price increases occasioned by supply chain problems that began with COVID and the war in Ukraine.
Despite the economic and financial challenges, the Pierre administration has been in a position to cushion consumers from the total impact of rising prices for fuel, cooking gas, flour and sugar.
Along with Public Servants getting salary increases, the Pierre administration has also been in a position to announce in his budget cuts in personal income tax, by increasing annual personal allowances from $18,000 to $25,000, providing a one-off payment of $500 to government pensioners, increasing public assistance to the most-needy and reinstating of the Distress Fund, previously removed by last UWP administration.
As an inducement to taxpayers to settle their income tax liabilities, all related interest charges and penalties can be waived for the income tax years as much as 2020 if those liabilities are settled by 1 st January 2023. As well as, all income tax due at thirty first December 2000 can be written-off.
With several public sector projects to be undertaken and expected increases in tourism arrivals, the economy is predicted to register healthy economic growth for the years ahead, at a median of 4% annually, based on the Minister of Finance.
The House debate will end on Friday twenty ninth April, at which period the Appropriation Bill for 2022/23 can be enacted into law.