Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Key Points: Budget 2023/24

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Coverage of the 2023/25 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

The good news is there is no bad news.

No massive layoffs in the public sector, but there will be changes in the State-Owned Enterprises sector.

There will be a 25 per cent reduction in principal if people make an effort to pay arrears at the Barbados Water Authority and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital between March 15 and September 15 if full debt is cleared.

Today is the start of Mission Transformation, taking Barbados to a world-class nation.

Over the next seven years, Barbados will be transitioning from Mission Critical to Mission Transformation.

Barbados must be for Bajans first – not only those who are born here, but those who choose to live here.

  • Training will be a major plank in Mission Transformation
  • There will be a comprehensive training programme for supervisory managers.
  • Programmes will be introduced in customer service and hospitality.
  • 15 000 courses are available through Coursera and the National Training Initiative
  • Florida International University will be introducing a campus in Barbados within the next 12 months.

Special attention must be paid to:

  • further reduction of Barbados’ debt;
  • lowering of commercial banking fees
  • restarting of domestic capital markets

Bonds:

  • $74.8m partial repayment will be made to 5 407 individual bondholders of Series B bonds who are on the register at March 31
  • They will receive $17 500 each
  • 2 627 are being repaid in full

 

Health Service Levy expected to provide about $75 million

The QEH will also get $139 million of operations

The excess from this fiscal year $5.5 million will be provided in a supplementary to complete A&E

$5 for rehabilitation of Lions Eye Care Centre

Money for UWI will be placed, discussion with UWI so areas of study match national needs

$27.6 million through CAF for road rehabilitation

$20m to the BWA to update reservoirs and water distribution

$15.3 million to Ministry of Agriculture to construct a new tissue culture laboratory

$8.5m in dorms for BYAC

More facilities will be built for children.

$8.1m to the Smart Energy Fund

$32,5m for Welfare

$20.6m for Child Care Board

$12.5m for Crime prevention Programme

$2.5 million for child and parental coaching

$9.7m to the Community Elderly Care Programme

Construction must be a major component of the growth programme

There will be a new national growth council in Barbados

This will be chaired by Dodridge Miller, formerly of Sagicor Financial

It will look at removing obstacles to growth through ‘Barbados Delivers’

Establishment of a National Strategic Council, chaired by the Prime Minister

BIDC will undertake an industrial park construction at Newton Christ Church to the tune of $30m

A light industrial park is also on the cards for St Lucy

The jetty at Arawak may have to be strengthened so goods don’t only land at Bridgetown

Research on for investment in marine farming

An agreement has been signed with an Egyptian company that wants to do fish processing in Barbados

Training in cybersecurity for four months and job opportunities will be created here and abroad through Student Revolving

Startwise focuses on soft skills and software training for 1 000 young people in the BYAC, rejected from BCC, SJPIT and those on the blocks who want meaningful engagement

Meetings with representatives from Guyana, Suriname and Brazil for expansion and growth to the south

Films will be produced in Barbados as the island is being set to become a filmmaking domicile

Barbados will be developing the heritage economy

$15m put aside at Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. and that amount will be matched to digitise the Archives

The Prime Minister chided both the Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd and the Fair Trading Commission. She says the delay in reaching a decision will hurt Barbadians.

Prime Minister Mottley also announced the extension of the waiver of the excise tax and VAT holiday for electric, plug-in, solar powered and compressed natural gas vehicles until March 2026 because of the logistic difficulties.

We heard the pleas of the nurses and we have now agreed to add the nurses to the public officers loans and travel allowances from April 1. Any nurse can go and borrow from the public officers loans and travel fund and the limit had been increased for electric vehicles.

 

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