Finance Minister Colm Imbert has announced an increase in spending and a reduction in revenue for 2019, with a higher budget deficit than expected.
However, as he delivered the Mid-Year Budget Review in the House of Representatives Monday, the minister announced that the economy is growing again and says this is expected to be maintained through until 2021.
The revised figures are as a result of lower oil prices. However, higher gas prices have been benefitting the country.
He has also announced a three-month tax amnesty from mid-June to mid-September, ahead of the implementation of the Revenue Authority.
He is urging citizens to take advantage of the amnesty and file their taxes, saying that it's unlikely that amnesties would be granted when the authority comes on board.
Here are some of the announcements made by Minister Imbert:
- Total expenditure now $52.07B, an increase of $300M over the $51.77B originally budgeted.
- Total revenue which was estimated to be $47.72B to fall by $221M to $47.5B.
- The deficit will now be $4.57B compared to the original budget of $4.05B.
- The deficit for the first 6 months of was estimated at $5.11B but turned out to be only $1.5B.
- Assets in HSF all-time high $6.1B.
- The gas price assumption will be revised to US$3/mmbtu as opposed to US$2.75mmbtu.
- Oil price used will be adjusted fro US$65/barrel to US$60/barrel.
- According to the CSO, we have had 3 consecutive quarters of economic growth.
- The revival of growth now established and expected to stabilised at 2% annually by 2021.
- Production of natural gas 3.81 bcf in the first quarter of 2019.
- BP wells with less than satisfactory results are only 2 in number. "I am advised one of these in-filled wells will go into operation shortly leaving just 1 unproductive well."
- In January gas production reached almost 4bcf/day.
- Gas production estimates 3.8bcf day average in 2018.
- Oil production expected to go from 60,000 barrels/day in 2019 to over 80,000 barrels/day in 2023.
- Inflation remains at very low levels at 1% in 2018.
- Grant approval to the THA to raise loan financing on the local market in sum of $300M for a number of developments of sister isle, health, housings, sporting activities, coastal erosion and ICT project.
- Strengthening of tax administration with soon to be established Revenue Authority and Gambling and Gaming Administration.
- Public sector debt 62% of GDP in 2018, well below established benchmarks.
"We see no need whatsoever to impose any additional burdens on the population," Minister Imbert said.