ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has assured the nation that the 2013 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure (Budget) will be presented in the next two to three week before the April 30 deadline, as stipulated in the Grenada constitution.
Mitchell, government ministers and other officials are meeting with various stakeholders, charting the way for the presentation of the important document that will guide the development of the country in 2013.
At a consultation last Saturday involving the prime minister, members of parliament, financial officials and cabinet secretary Nadica McIntyre, the Grenadian prime minister said that some bold measures regarding economic activities and revenue enhancement will have to be taken.
He said that the budget must address keys issues including the facilitation of private sector development, tourism development and youth and education development.
Mitchell indicated that the public finances are in a sad state — worse than they had perceived before assuming office. He pointed to the recurrent expenditure — wages for example — has moved from EC$25 million to EC$28.8 million in the last four years.
However, he indicated that the government is not perturbed by the big challenge and is keen to turn the country around and spur economic growth and development.
The Grenadian leader said the time has come to take some controversial and necessary decisions. He said that the budget will reflect and address the fundamental aspects of the New National Party’s (NNP) manifesto, noting that they will be partially judged by what they promised that of providing significant job opportunities and investment projects in the first 100 days in office.
“Clearly the jobs expected must come from the construction sector – roads, including Phase 2 of the Kuwait Project, some stimulus for the construction industry, tourism and manufacturing. In addition, the budget must address less recurrent expenditure in several ministries and a serious reduction in non personal expenditure, which include debt restructuring activities,” he said.
Mitchell said that emphasis will also be focused on the creation of safety net program to assist those who cannot help themselves, adding that the Integrity Commission and the establishment of a national health insurance scheme are also important priorities.
“While some others talk about accountability, integrity and good governance; we have to walk the talk; in fact talk less and walk a lot more,” he told the consultation. He added that there must be a proper health system that takes care of nationals.