2022/2023 BUDGET Some Thoughts
May 26, 2022
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The 2022/23 has been crafted in the context of a post Covid-19 era with all its accompanying challenges. Alongside these is, that the Budget was presented immediately after a General Election that swept the Opposition into Office.

These two factors have strongly dictated the contents of the Budget and the approach taken therein. The Prime Minister had a fine balancing act to perform, and generally performed well.

The harsh realities of a Post Covid-19 Economy where substantial spending took place (heavy borrowing) on health, social support and infrastructure projects took place simultaneously with a dramatic decline in revenue and economic activity. These have handcuffed the Government’s spending capacity, while forcing its hand in an attempt to meet increased social needs forced upon by Covid-19 related shutdown leading to higher levels of unemployment and disappearance of income earning opportunities.

Of course the platform presented at the Election has also dictated some economic and social policies evident in the Budget.

While the entire Private Sector may be relieved that the Philip J. Pierre Government did not impose any new taxes, as was done in other jurisdictions. The low low keyed attention given to crime in the budget Speech as a bit of a surprise when one considers the rash of killings and robberies taking place over the last eighteen months, in particular.

Many in the private sector would have also welcomed greater attention and ambition in the areas of renewable energy and climate adaptation.

Increasing agricultural production in the face of global inflation, supply chain difficulties, and the Russia/Ukraine war with its potential and expected impact on food supplies, would also have been useful.

The Private Sector should particularly been excited about the Tax Amnesty offered and those with this issue should be moving posthaste to take advantage.

There is of course significant interest in the many projects mentioned in the project and the private sector would be hoping that these projects will lead to significant spend within and through the existing local economy so some impact will be felt by business and employment.

Interventions that should help stimulate the economy include:

Construction Projects, Tourism Iniatives particular Community Tourism,  Youth Economy actions,  Agriculture and Fisheries programs.

Of Special Note "No New Taxes".

Tax Amnesty Tax Amnesty for Personal and Corporate Sector - Waiver of penalties and interest on taxes prior to 2020 except for:

  • Hotel Occupancy Tax
  • Value-Added Tax
  • Withholding Tax
  • Simplification Of Personal Income Taxes.
  • PAYE

Personal tax allowance has increased from $18,000 to $25,000

Tax bands will be decreased from 4 to 3

One should however pay attention to There is a huge Budget Deficit of $505,124m to be financed by borrowings.

Road Projects

• Millenium Highway expected to cost EC$76.01m, commencement date not indicated.

• Gros Islet Highway and Secondary Road Improvement-Discussion with Kuwait Fund for the reinstatement of the original project financing of EC$32m.Commencement date not indicated.

Water

  • Vieux Fort Water Supply-Expected to cost $US21.67m expected to be completed by August 2022.
  • John Compton Rehabilitation Project (JCD)-Balance of fund is EC$2.6m and continuation of project to be completed.

Other Projects

  • Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project- Expected to cost EC$470m.The project is one year in operation and One year and is to be continued.
  • St. Jude Hospital-Expected cost of EC$1.5m for remedial works of the continued project.
  • Halls of Justice and Gros-Islet Police Station- Expected to cost EC$35m –Commencement date not given.

Private Sector Construction in Tourism-

  • Construction Dreams Cas En Bas Resort which entails 96 rooms and expected to cost US$25m. Commencement of project has began.
  • Pointe Seraphine Marriot Project which entails 140 rooms expected to cost US$42m. Recommencement of project.
  • Sandals Halcyon and La Toc-10 stand- alone buildings with 25rooms/suites. No commencement date on project.

Business Facilitation

  • Headquarters - legislation to be overhauled
  • International Trust - new legislation to be introduced
  • Limited Partnership – new legislation to be introduced
  • Tax Residency – progamme to be introduced to be more attractive to international high net worth individuals
  • Agricultural Tourism Bill-To facilitate market access to a wider range of farmers and fishers.
  • Security Interests in Moveable Properties Bill
  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill
  • Credit Reporting Bill
  • Other Initiatives that Support Private Sector Development
  • Micro, Small and Medium Sized Entities Soft Loan/Grant Programme-implemented by the Department of Commerce in which $EC$10m has been allocated.
  • Cannabis Regime Development-Decriminalization of marijuana and create a market regionally and internationally.

Export Capacity Enhancement Initiatives.

The capacity of the public service to implement and execute the Agenda of the Elected Government remains a concern. The inherent resistance to change that has emerged with the public sector will be challenge for this Government as it has been to successive Governments.

The entrenched interests of public servants must be overcome with some enlightened self interest, The Public Sector must embrace and engages in innovative practices, the use of technology to increases efficiency and productivity where an enhanced customer experience is the ultimate objective.

The nation cannot afford to not change and embrace the rapidly changing economic and social environment. The very existence of St. Lucia as a nation that provides a decent quality of life for all citizens is at stake.

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Frequently asked questions
Where is the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce located?

The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is located at Orange Park Commercial Building, 1st Floor, Bois D’Orange, Gros Islet.

Is the chamber of commerce part of the government?

While most chambers work closely with government, they are not part of government  

What are the benefits of being in the chamber of commerce?

Advocating on behalf of members with the public sector. Increased visibility and credibility. Business training and education information sharing and networking.

What is the main purpose of the chamber of commerce?

A chamber of commerce is an organization of business owners and entrepreneurs who promote the interests of their local business community. Chambers of commerce provide access to valuable resources, discounts, and relationships that help businesses save money and market their products.

What powers does the chamber of commerce have?

Chambers of Commerce will act to promote public policies that are in the best interest of business, in general. Specific Chambers of Commerce may also attempt to promote policies that serve specific industries or geographic locations.