NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 08, 2021) – Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, has given assurance that the government will continue to demonstrate responsibility with respect to regulating its expenditure.
Delivering the NIA Budget 2022 on December 07, 2021, Premier Brantley reminded that Nevis’ economy, like all other countries world wide, is still experiencing significant disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the government’s revenue streams continue to be severely impacted in the face of decreased economic activity, therefore the Administration has no choice but to maintain some of its fiscal measures initiated in 2021 to prevent further exacerbation of Nevis’ financial standing.
“As a continuing policy of my Administration, I wish to assure the public that we will not be irresponsible in our spending…Mr. President the past 18 months have truly been a challenging period for my Cabinet and Government…In the face of declining revenues due to a stagnant COVID-19 battered economy, we must continue our short term measures and align our expenditure with our projected revenues for the new fiscal year.
“Therefore, my Cabinet has approved the continuation of the following expenditure reduction measures for a further six months up to June 30, 2022- suspension of all overseas travel for all public servants, including Members of Cabinet, unless these travels are fully funded; maintain the monthly travel allowance payable to all public servants, including Members of Cabinet, at 50 percent; deferral of increments to all civil servants; deferral of any promotions of officers or upgrade in their salaries and wages; deferral of any new employment of officers into the public service. Where officers have exited the service we would first seek to reorganize duties among existing staff before employing replacement officers.”
The Premier added, “These short term measures will help us to contain our fixed monthly commitments within reasonable limits as we await the economic recovery in our main sectors.”
He said in the event that the NIA achieves sustained improvement in its fiscal position, these short term measures may be lifted before June 2022.
In the meantime the NIA will also continue to streamline its policy for tax concessions and limit exemptions from the various taxes, and discontinue the random policy of granting duty free concessions on vehicles, but instead limit concessions to only instances where the existence of the vehicle plays a vital role in the commercial activities of the business.
The Minister of Finance stated that in the coming fiscal year the NIA will focus on stabilizing and consolidating its current fiscal situation.
“We are fully aware that the economic performance experienced prior to the onset of COVID-19 will not be restored immediately, but we are optimistic that there will be gradual improvements in economic activities during the new fiscal year as we set out to rebuild our economy in the post COVID-19 era…
“Though we are moving in the right direction, we will have to continue to strike a balance between enforcing fiscal sustainability measures and incentivizing the various sectors of our economy over the near to medium term,” he said.
The NIA’s expenditure budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2022 is set at $229 million.