354 James Walter Francis Drive
RJT Edifice Building, 5th Floor
Road Town, TORTOLA VG1110
Tel: 284 468 2730
Fax: 284 468 2750
Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, delivered his maiden Budget Address in the Virgin Islands House of Assembly earlier today, with a fiscal package totaling $399.33 million, of which $335.08 million is allocated for recurrent expenditure and $41.59 million for capital expenditure.
The theme of the 2023 Budget is “Resilience, Revenue, Reform, and Recovery: the Virgin Islands in Transition”, which, according to the Premier, represents “a simple but largely comprehensive matrix of what we have accomplished this year and what the priorities and parameters of our mission in the upcoming year and beyond should be, given the international geopolitical and economic climate, and the situation closer to home.”
Major allocations in the 2023 Budget include: $73.07 million to the Ministry of Health and Social Development; $62.51 million to the Ministry of Communications and Works; $55.7 million to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports; $52.3 million to the Governor’s Group; $43.3 million to the Premier’s Office; $7.77 million to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour; $54.23 million for pensions, public debt and contributions to various funds; and $8.67 million to constitutionally established departments. Some $24.9 million in development projects that will be managed by Central Government, and $12.17 million will be for development projects that will be managed by the Recovery and Development Agency.
According to Premier Wheatley, based on the economic strategy and in consideration of the state of the global economy, the Virgin Islands economy is projected to experience 2.9% growth in the upcoming year, “all things being equal”. Total recurrent revenue of $373.03 million is being projected with a recurrent surplus of approximately $36.7 million. The Virgin Islands’ tourism industry continues on the path of recovery and growth with around 703,000 visitors expected in 2023, of which about 292,000, would be overnight visitors. The financial services industry is expected to continue its strong performance and yield about $222 million in revenues in 2023.
Commenting on the focus on resilience, Premier Wheatley explained that resilience refers not only to constructing buildings and infrastructure to withstand the forces of nature, but it also applies to having an economy that can hold up against impacts from local and foreign threats and major crises. This, he said includes, “ensuring that our people have the skills, knowledge and ability to thrive when conditions change from the familiar to the unfamiliar. It means reducing not just the vulnerability of the economy but of our people. It means being able to take a lot of blows before you bend, and being able to get back up quickly if and when you do.” Based on this definition, and the way the Virgin Islands economy and people have stood up to recent challenges, the economy and people of the Virgin Islands have demonstrated great resilience.
The full 2023 Budget Address can be accessed on Facebook at username @BVI Government or via the link: