by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has embarked on a journey of transformation and the Government intends to use the 2023 Estimates as a vehicle to pursue a number of policies, programmes and projects.
Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew during his 2023 Budget Address said the Government is committed to transforming St.Kitts and Nevis into a sustainable country; as manifested in the Sustainable Island State Agenda. Under that Agenda, there are seven key pillars which seek to frame the pathway for the country over the next year and beyond, which include food security, green energy transition, economic diversification, sustainable industries, the Creative Economy, COVID-19 recovery and social protection.
Drew said the Government’s intention is to implement capital projects to foster economic growth and sustainable development; thus sharing a forecast of EC $178.8 million from capital expenditure in 2023.
Specific Line Ministries are budgeted to receive a significant portion of finance to support the welfare of the community and improve public services in 2023.
The largest allocation of the Capital Expenditure and Net Lending estimate is under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Energy, Utilities and Domestic Transport in the sum of EC $39,125,000.
The Ministry of National Security, Citizenship and Immigration will receive the second highest allocation of EC $23,825,052.
The Ministry of Health and Social Security has been allocated EC $20,600,00.
To support and ensure the development of the Education sector the Ministry of Education has been allocated EC $18, 337,210.
The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and International Transport will receive an allocation of EC $17, 554, 396.
The Ministry of Finance has been allocated the 6th highest funds in the sum of EC $13,312,000.
The Government will invest EC $8,154,064 into the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives for the implementation of sustainable programmes and projects to support livelihoods and to increase the sector’s drive towards food security.
The Ministry of Sustainable Development has been allocated EC $7,514,986.
Funds have also been allocated for the Ministry of Sports and the Creative Economy in the sum of EC $7,142,150.
Additionally, a total of EC $5,000,000 has been allocated for the Ministry of Housing, Human Settlement, Ecclesiastical and Faith based Affairs.
The Ministry of Employment and Labour will receive a sum of EC $4,100,000.
The 2023 Budget reveals that the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs has been allocated funds in the total of EC $3,300,000.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Action and Constituency Empowerment has been allocated EC $1,963,813 to support its continuing work in the development of climate action projects and other initiatives.
A sum of EC $1,755,000 is budgeted for the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and Posts.
The Prime Minister’s Office has also been allocated funds in the total of EC $1,250,000.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of International, Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs will receive EC $750,000.
The Governor General has been allocated EC $500,000, whilst the Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of the Attorney General have been allocated EC $250,000 each.
The Parliament will also receive financing in the sum of EC $200,000.
However, no funds have been allocated for the Audit Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Ageing and Disabilities and the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment.
During his budget presentation, the Prime Minister said the Government is striving to get better value for money through the operations of all ministries and departments, thus emphasising the importance of being responsible and prudent with the use of funds.
He said “In our fiscal planning for 2023, we quickly recognise that good fiscal governance must come from deliberate actions on the part of Ministries and Departments. The onus is on us to be responsible and prudent in the use of the Government’s limited financial resources, while executing the mandate that the people of the country have given to us. Further our Government will strive to ensure that the implementation of this budget yields better value for money through improved management of operations of all nine ministries and departments. We have appointed a number of new accounting officers who are expected to bring the level of leadership necessary for the Government to achieve this important objective, fiscal measures and other strategic interventions.”
As the country records a rebound in economic activity and forecasts further improvement in 2023, the Government seeks to fulfill its mandate of sustainable development and growth for St.Kitts and Nevis.