2006 Budget Tops $233 Million
expects to collect a record $233,155,000 in revenue during the upcoming fiscal
year, Minister of Finance, Hon. Ronnie Skelton said as he delivered the 2006
Budget Address during the 13 December sitting of the Legislative Council. The
theme of the 2006 Budget Address was “Advancing our Social Services.”
gave an overview of global and regional trends, reflecting on the past and
looking towards the future, as well as outlining the fiscal domestic performance
for 2005, and the 2006 plans for each Government Department, Ministry and
($233,155,000) represents an increase of 7.4 percent above 2005 projected
revenue. This optimistic projection in revenue is due largely to the excellent
performance of the Financial Services sector, because this revenue was derived
from sources all over the world, it signifies that our global marketing strategy
is paying dividends,” Hon. Skelton pointed out.
have been earmarked to cover recurrent expenditure. More specifically, Mr.
Skelton noted that the figures in next year’s recurrent budget include the cost
to establish a Department of Culture, and a Department to be known as the BVI
that remains, the Government proposes to spend $24,235,000 for the Development
Fund for the execution of Capital Projects. The remaining four million dollars
will be distributed among the Pension Fund, Emergency/Disaster Fund,
Contingencies Fund, Repair and Renewal Fund, and the Reserve Fund.
Debate on the
merits and principles of the Bill entitled “Appropriations (2006) Act, 2005” has
been deferred until a later date. The annual estimates for the year of 2006 were
referred to the members of Standing Finance Committee who are to meet in the
near future to examine the various expenditures and ask detailed information.
position of Government is strong”, Hon. Skelton said as he made known the
current stance of the Territory’s public debt, which now stands at $102,327,894
(or 12 percent of the Gross Domestic Product -- GDP).
On a high note,
the Finance Minister announced that the state of the BVI’s economy has never
been stronger. The GDP is expected to increase from an estimated $898,138,000 in
2005 to a projection of just under $ One Billion in the next four years.
The Budget is
expected to be distributed among Ministries, Departments, and Statutory Boards
as follows: Ministry of Communications and Works, $38,287,400, Chief Minister’s
Office, $37,966,100, Ministry of Education and Culture, $36,689,400, Governors
Group, $31,838,300, Ministry of Health and Social Services, $30,817,900,
Ministry of Finance, $18,752,800, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour,
$14,133,500, Pensions and Gratuities, Public Debt, Miscellaneous, and Funds,
combined, will receive, $24,669,600.
Skelton used the forum to share with the public some of Government’s big plans
for 2006, when work will begin on the new hospital, the new high school
building, and the various road construction projects on every island of the
Territory. Other major projects include the new retirement centre, the continued
series of road shows throughout the world — mostly Asia — to promote the
Financial Services industry, new marketing campaign for the Tourism Sector, the
improvements to the seaports and airports, and the establishment of the
Department of Culture.
said that the projected revenue for the year 2005 is expected to be exceeded in
similar fashion to the 2004 projection, thus setting a trend for a fantastic
2006. “Among its initiatives for 2006, the FSC has high hopes of finally
commencing plans for the establishment of an FSC satellite office in Hong Kong.
This office will service the volume of business originating from the region,
particularly for Registry of Corporate Affairs.”
Looking at the
vital tourism industry, the Finance Minister said projections indicate that the
Tourist Board will lay further claims on major markets in Latin America and
Canada as it embarks upon the establishment of a public relations service in
those countries to boost secondary tourism markets. The Minister noted that the
efforts of the Board continued in 2005 and as a result the Board has completed
the addition of Spain and Eastern Europe to the portfolio of their European
Overall forecast for 2006 makes provision for the development of land-ownership
policies. With that said the Minister commented that Government had no intention
to levy any new taxes in 2006. “The year ahead has much promise for the people
of this Territory. This budget is intended to serve as a framework from which to
build. Even in the absence of the 2005 final figures, by projection, I feel
comfortable in forecasting 2006 as a year of strong growth.”
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