Sinckler focused on bringing down the deficit

The Freundel Stuart administration is expecting another challenging year as it seeks to further reduce the fiscal deficit, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has told Parliament.

Government has projected deficit of 4.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year, but delivering his report for the April 2016 to January 31, 2017, Sinckler said he expects that the figure could be even lower.

“Our hope is that, as I said at the beginning of my presentation, that we can engage in a discussion with all of the relevant authorities to ensure that we reach the targets which we’ve set ourselves, not only in relation to the 4.4 per cent of GDP in this particular Estimates document as laid out here, but that we can bring that down further so that the financing challenges associated with financing such a large deficit can be reduced to no more than about $250 million, somewhere around 2.5 per cent of GDP . . .

“Last year we projected eight per cent, we got it down to 5.1. We’re projecting 4.4 this year. We believe we can bring that down to 2.5 per cent of GDP, and perhaps even lower, depending on the type of things that we agree,” Sinckler added.

The Minister of Finance told Parliament that preliminary information from the Accountant General and the Barbados Revenue Authority indicates that current revenue was for April-January was $2.87 billion, an increase of 8.9 per cent over the previous period.

Taxes on incomes and profits realized $627.7 million, 16.1 per cent higher than the amount collected the previous year, while corporation tax increased by $25.4 million for the period under review.

With respect to income taxes, $68.2 million more was recorded for that period and withholding taxes increased by $23.4 million.

However, taxes on property decreased by $3.3 million from the corresponding period to $123.7 million. Amounts of $112.4 million and $11.3 million were collected for land tax and property transfer tax respectively.

According to Sinckler, taxes on goods and services increased by $94.6 million, to $1.43 billion. Receipts from Value Added Tax (VAT) totaled $764.4 million, an increase of $84.4 million over the corresponding period in 2015-2016.

Government earned  $153.1 million in excise duties, an increase of 16.7 million above the actual outturn for the previous year.

Import duties increased by $16.8 million to $204.6 million, while special receipts also increased by $12.4 million, due in part to the collection of $19.8 million from the National Social Responsibility Levy. Non-tax revenue recorded $57.1 million, an $18 million decline from the previous year.

On the expenditure side, current expenditure exclusive of amortization was $780.2 million.  This decreased by $29.7 million of 1.2 per cent from the 2015-2016 figure.

Sinckler reported that wages and salaries decreased from $604.6 million to $593.8 million. Expenditure on goods and services decreased by $8 million to $259.7 million, and the figure for current transfers decreased by 64.2 million. The main contributors to this decrease were retirement benefits, grants to public institutions and other benefits.

Capital expenditure for period under review was $135.8 million compared to $179.5 million for the previous financial year. Total expenditure was placed at $3.293 billion, compared to $3.43 billion the previous year.

Central government disbursed debt stood at $13.34 billion, or 144.1 per cent of GDP, compared to $12.18 billion for the previous year.

There was also a $6 million increase in external debt, primarily due to disbursements from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and the assumption of Barbados Agricultural Management Company’s (BAMC’s) debt. These were offset by repayments on the Caribbean Development Bank and the Credit Suisse loans.

The Minister told the House that domestic debt increased by $1.1 billion, financed mainly through the issuance of debentures and short-term treasury bills. The increase also included the debt of the BAMC which was overtaken by Central Government. The net increase was attributable to the need for financing the deficit.

Total debt payments amounted to 1.4 billion, with interest payments of $642.5 million, and amortization payments of $780.8 million.

There was an overall increase in amortization payments was $43.7 million.  During the period under review no sinking fund contributions were deducted.

Contingent debt of government stood at $925.1 million at the end of December 2016, compared to $1.4 billion the previous year.  This decrease is attributed mainly to the guaranteed debt of BAMC which was assumed by central government, as well as the repayment of $55 million by the BTI to the National Insurance Board, Sinckler said.

  

13 Responses to Sinckler focused on bringing down the deficit

  1. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn March 15, 2017 at 4:36 am

    How could the deficit come down when every MINISTER getting kick back. The government bound to go bankrupt.

    Reply
  2. David E Hall
    David E Hall March 15, 2017 at 6:20 am

    He already admitted he does not know what to do or what to cut. How then can he bring it down?

    Reply
  3. Baje Mcg
    Baje Mcg March 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Desperation is setting in….but look at how they will be living after leaving govt

    Reply
  4. Nico HL Beckles
    Nico HL Beckles March 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    He was fully content with increasing it

    Reply
  5. Kamila Burrowes
    Kamila Burrowes March 15, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Sighs

    Reply
  6. hcalndre March 15, 2017 at 8:42 am

    The MOF Sinckler says his intention is to bring the debt down and he is also making sure that the police, defence force and all security personel are well financed and ready to crack heads (Jonesie words) just in case.

    Reply
  7. Rohan Williams
    Rohan Williams March 15, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Eric you are correct. Those cronies secure their pension on two winning terms already.
    Bajans need to wake up.
    These ministers need to put pride aside and go to the IMF.
    Hold the bajan dollar tied still to the USA dollar and struggle through it.

    Reply
  8. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne March 15, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Well, I guess Sinckler must have been asking,
    “Why me, Lord? Why me?”

    Reply
  9. Tony Webster March 15, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Look on the bright side peoples: plenty, plenty good materiel…for the nex Rum’N’Koke DVD skit. Dem deserve to be buried under a “laff-mountain” equal to our current debt-mountain.

    Hi guys….we waitin’….

    Reply
  10. Colin Daniel March 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    How can you bring the deficit down without address debt service and debt service cost/

    Reply
  11. jrsmith March 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    This is contempt to bajans , this show how bajans are treated and suppose to suck and see or lump it…..
    When last have we seen detail figures as to what was published by (Sinckler ), he is digging a hole for himself…

    It seems as though the (minister of finance), cannot never enforce efficiently the collection of taxes , its easy to put in place the varying taxes but very ,very hard to collect the same…..
    I must remind him that there is more than 700 millions Bds floating around out there , just think how half of that amount would look in the treasury if collected…………………….

    He must go back to the (Audit General’s ) report and give us bajans a similar break down … Man this would boost your standing, lots of bajans including myself would contribute towards a monument opposite lord nelson of you ……………………..

    Reply
  12. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    He is now focus on bringing the deficit down. What type of shyte this i hearing. So what has this big mout boastful bragger been doing all this time besides increasing government expenditure.

    Reply
  13. BimJim March 15, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I think I hear an election coming… just around the corner… nuff noise, chest-beating and opinionated hot air bout de place… go inside, chrilren, y’all shouldn’t hear dis kinda nastiness…

    Reply

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