Information Officer II
Dept. of Information & Public Relations
Telephone: 468- 2740
The Government is on a mission to position the Virgin Island for the future, according to Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE.
Premier Smith was delivering his 2017 Budget Address at the Fourth Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly on January 16 under the theme: ‘Charting the Course: Positioning the Virgin Islands for the Future’.
In his presentation, Premier Smith focused on the state of the Territory with emphasis on its economic and fiscal performance; outlined his Government’s economic and social empowerment strategy and road map; highlighted the Government’s revenue and expenditure programme and set out his Government’s strategy for repositioning the BVI’s future for sustained and sustainable growth.
Premier Smith explained that he was presenting the budget against the background of remarkable global changes, which has created “opportunities to improve our business, our infrastructure and our people.”
He said that Government would work diligently with repositioning financial services and developing the Territory’s infrastructure to a level that is matching global standards. He explained that they will also engage in aggressive tourism marketing and upgrade the tourism infrastructure, and at the same time address air access by expanding the T.B Lettsome International Airport.
Additionally, he said Government will continue to prepare the BVI and its people for the future through capability building, small business development, entrepreneurship, safeguarding the environment, agriculture and fishing industry, and educational enhancement, among others.
“This Government is committed to its mantra of ‘Government and the people: making progress together’. The budget is structured to continue the necessary expenditure to ensure that we deliver the common goods and public services which we are entitled to as members of society”, Premier Smith said.
He added, “More importantly, it will also deliver on the strategies that we need to address the social and economic issues faced by the Territory to ensure the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the BVI.”
The Government has forecasted to collect $323,112,631 in revenues over the course of 2017. They project to utilise $277,374,631 for operations. Included in this sum is $5,488,350 in financing/interest costs and a contribution $12,500,000 to the Reserve Fund, which satisfies our reserve requirement as agreed in the Protocols for Effective Financial Management.
In speaking specifically about the accomplishment with the reserve fund, Premier Smith said, “This, Madame Speaker, is cause for a sense of pride and accomplishment! Not only does it indicate a milestone that will now be met, but it also significantly promotes our fiscal independence and autonomy within the Guidelines, into the future. I urge all to help us to reach this goal within the coming year.”
Now that the 2017 Budget Address has been delivered, the Standing Finance Committee chaired by the Speaker of the House will examine the Budget document. At this session, public accounting officers will be invited to explain and rationalise their submissions and answer any questions the committee members may have. Once the Standing Finance process is completed, the Budget is debated in the House of Assembly
Standing Finance commences today, Tuesday, January 17.