Grenada budget about continuing progress, says Keith Mitchell

Last updated: 28 November 2017, 3:11 pm

The prime minister of Grenada has delivered the annual budget, which he said was themed around “safeguarding our gains and continuing our progress.”

Speaking in parliament yesterday, Keith Mitchell said the country is poised to experience its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2017, which is “provisionally estimated for the year” at 4.5%.

This represents an increase from the 3.7% reported in 2016.

The “uptick in economic activity” has been fueled by expansion in the construction, tourism, private education and manufacturing sectors, he added.

Growth in 2018 is currently projected to be 3.3%.

For taxpayers, next year could see reductions in personal income tax by 5% as well as a 5% drop in corporate tax “if the fiscal space allows”.

Other measures announced include public assistance for the elderly going from EC$200 to EC$300.

The prime minister said that unemployment has now dropped to 24% and that next year will see this drop further as jobs are created.

“Grenada is poised to attract significant investment in all of these areas, which could ultimately lead to hundreds of new jobs,” Mitchell said.

Allocation of funding

The total amount of the 2018 budget was EC$1,112,039,938.

Beginning his presentation, Mitchell stressed the need for the country to “safeguard our hard-won gains.”

“We must move forward together as a united people so that the progress can be maintained.”

The areas receiving the most attention are public debt, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, and the Ministry of Finance and Energy.

Referring to the successful completion earlier this year of the structural adjustment programme put in place by the International Monetary Fund, Mitchell said “Our fiscal wounds have been healed.

“Persistent deficits have been turned into surpluses and our public debt is on a downward trajectory.

There has been no reaction to the budget from the de facto opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as yet.

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