The government is trying very hard to work around its revenue losses and ensure that no public servant loses his/her job as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
During the 31 July sitting of the House of Assembly Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie explained that the global pandemic has resulted in revenue loss in the Territory, and now he said that the government is trying to manage the situation by taking a look at the budget.
Speaking directly to the loss of needed BVI funds the Premier told legislators. “We had to close down the Territory more than once and with that we have lost some revenue; so, we want to make sure that we are on the side of caution.”
As regards the shortfall Hon. Fahie explained that changes had to be made to ensure that the Territory’s spending is manageable: “It forced also to revise our expenditure so that we can make sure that we cut our cloth to suit our garment and we had to do that. In this case and we will continue to monitor the revenues of the Territory as well as the expenditure.”
Manoeuvring this COVID19 economic effect called for an all hands on deck approach and Hon. Fahie said that the various accounting and finance persons across the public service are being contacted: “We are asking all of the public officers to work with us. We made sure that we did cut any single job in the public service. We are trying to make sure that everyone stays gainfully employed.”
While noting that prosperity is on the horizon the Premier said that until the BVI can get to that point the Territory will use austere measures: “We do have to do more with less and that’s not just a cliché; this is a reality now with COVID 19. Once we continue on the path we are on, we are seeing signs where the economy is starting to bounce back, but we have to be so cautious because we are balancing persons health and lives versus their livelihood in terms of the economy.”
Toward this end the Premier explained that alterations had to be made to the budgeted figures to reflect what government has experienced in the loss of revenues and to adjust our expenditures. “The Ministry of Finance will be meeting with all the accounts officers so that they can be clear that it is not something that we want to but something that we had to do and ask them to spend accordingly and be mindful of how they go about spending the government’s funds – the taxpayers’ money. Also we have evolved in many areas to try to increase revenues.”