The government’s revenue projection for the 2018/2019 fiscal period is now forecasted to fall short by $185 million, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest revealed in the House of Assembly today.
Turnquest said this is due in part to the renegotiated tax structure for gaming houses, lower than expected value added tax (VAT) collections and the delay in the establishment of the Revenue Enhancement Unit, which is forecasted to collect some $80 million in incremental revenue.
“With this new agreement, projected revenues to be collected from the gaming houses will be somewhat below the amounts that had been included in the 2018/19 budget, in the sum of approximately $18 million,” Turnquest said as he presented the mid-year budget statement.
As it relates to the Revenue Enhancement Unit, Turnquest said it is expected to be established in the second half of the fiscal year.
“All told, we now estimate that revenues will fall short of the budget projection by some seven percent, but still come in some $400 million higher than the last fiscal year,” Turnquest continued.
Revenue collections was projected to come in at $2.649 billion.
Turnquest said total expenditure and recurrent expenditure will come in somewhat lower than has been projected.
“That, in large measure, of course reflects the government’s dedicated commitment to stringent expenditure restraint,” he continued. “Accordingly, recurrent expenditure is now projected at a level some five percent below the budget forecast.
“Capital expenditure was particularly subdued in the first half of the fiscal year but, with our commitment to significantly invest in new and modern public infrastructure, we expect the pace of spending in this area to pick up appreciably in the second half of the year. The estimated outturn for capital expenditure is nonetheless now expected to come in below the amount budgeted for the entire year.”
Turnquest said in the first six months of the fiscal year, the fiscal deficit contracted by 31 percent or $78.7 million to $175.3 million, in comparison to the same period in the previous fiscal year. I repeat: We saw a near $80 million reduction year on year in the deficit at the midpoint of the year.
“We are working hard.”