Douglas, who was at the time addressing the National Assembly outlined that this year’s budget would be 27.1% more or EC$140.1 million more than what was estimated in 2014.
He added that non-tax revenue is projected to be EC$255.5 million for 2015, with an estimated EC$81.0 million for Budgetary and Capital Grants. Douglas added that the Total Revenue and Grants are expected to amount to EC$738.4 million, 22.1% in excess of the 2014 estimate.
“It is therefore essential that we collect the revenue that is due to the Government as this is the means by which we finance our programmes and activities. This is not always an easy or pleasant task but it is necessary if we are to have sufficient resources to properly provide the services and infrastructure that are demanded of us without increasing our debt,” Douglas said.
In his budget address to the nation, Douglas said that the federation is now “reaping the gains” from the comprehensive structural reforms of the last decade, predominantly in the last three years. He added that there has been a turnaround in the economy which is supported by a significantly “reduced public debt” and a “strong fiscal position”.
“We are ever mindful of our role as a Government and the activities that must be undertaken to achieve our goals. These activities are numerous and have been carefully prioritized so that they can be financed from the resources that we expect to have at our disposal,” Douglas said.
In order to better promote the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as a major tourist destination, EC$19 million would be allocated to the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport for fiscal 2015.
Douglas explained that the allocation of EC$19.5 million for the tourism sector in 2015 will exceed the amount that was allocated in 2014 by EC$1.6 million or 8.9%.
The Minister of Finance said that Air Canada will recommence their operations into St. Kitts and Nevis from December 20, 2014 to April 25, 2015. He added that negotiations are underway for the continued expansion of the service.
“This trend is expected to continue as American Airlines will continue to expand its Miami service, and Delta has resumed its weekly flights into St. Kitts from November 8, 2014,” Douglas said.
Looking at cooking gas, Douglas said this will also continue to be subsidized by the government and he announced that the Ministry of Finance has allocated the sum of EC$5 million.
Douglas said that Ministry of Finance will also facilitate pension and gratuity payments of about EC$34.3 million to retired Civil Servants.
“The consumption of electricity by Government Ministries is projected to be EC$18 million and will be paid by the Ministry of Finance as well as EC$10.5 million for Civil Servants’ medical insurance and insurance on the Government’s assets,” Douglas said.