(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
In record time, the House of Assembly successfully passed the $414M 2020 budget last evening, December 13.
Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Andrew Fahie, who had promised to have the budget approved by December 15, said that the passage is the first in many years.
“This budget is for the people. The Territory will see 1st January 2020 with an approved budget for the first in many years. This is a testament to this Government's dedication to make good governance the norm and not the exception,” he said.
However, the Finance Minister cautioned that there are some challenges ahead.
“There are many serious challenges ahead for the BVI but with God’s help the best days for the BVI are yet ahead as we are going green as we make the BVI more resilient and united,” he stated.
The Appropriation (2020), 2019 Act, was passed with amendments.
“Thanks to God who allowed me to work with great elected colleagues and public officers, the promise that was made was kept. The 2020 Budget of the BVI was passed in record time by the House of Assembly on 13th Dec 2019,” Premier Fahie emphasized.
In his budget address last month, Hon. Fahie announced a projected revenue of $414M, while the recurrent expenditure is expected to be $327M. Capital expenditure is projected to be $65M, with $6M earmarked to be contributed to the funds; while the Government hopes to use $14M towards its principle repayment on debt.
Looking at the two major economical pillars of the Territory, the Premier announced that the tourism sector is facing immense regional competition and he gave some examples of how countries in the Caribbean are planning to add to their tourism economies in 2020.
The Premier also noted that things are not rosy with the main economic pillar of financial services. No new taxes were announced.
At the start of the budget debate on Friday, Premier Fahie slammed members of the opposition who did not show up to take part in the debate, with the exception of Hon. Alvera Maduro-Caines, Sixth District Representative.
However, the other members eventually showed up and contributed to the debate.