The Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure will be laid in the House of Assembly on Tuesday.
This announcement came from Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, who also indicated that the debate setting out the revenue and expenditure for the 2023-2024 financial year will commence next Monday February 20.
While delivering remarks at the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) St Michael West Central branch meeting at the Lawrence T Gay Memorial School on Sunday, Straughn gave the assurance that the Government will not only be budgeting for improvements to the road infrastructure, but would also be putting resources behind the social services, health, education among other sectors.
“We recognize that COVID stopped us from being able to do what we wanted to do with respect to the Youth Advance Corps and our young people. And Minister [of Youth and Sports] Griffith, will be able to complete the accommodations with respect to the building of those dorms so that we can get those young people who would have left school early, didn’t have an opportunity to get any exposure for work or training or anything, so that people could see that we are still investing in your children.
“Irrespective of their performance at school, we are still going to be investing in your children to give them a chance to be the best Barbadian citizen they can be,” he said.
Straughn also reminded those who attended the meeting that the level of taxation for all Barbadians has decreased since the Government came to office in 2018. However, he said because of external influences and factors, the cost-of-living had risen.
He said this is why he has been appealing to members of the private sector to educate the public about the increasing importation bills they are facing, particularly as it relates to shipping expenses.
“I said to the business people why don’t you just explain to the people, open up your books, show them that you ain’t ‘jucking’ out their eyes. Now I know some may feel that they will ‘juck’ your eye out or something, but these are real costs that have been impacting every single thing.
“And mind you, the cost is also being passed on to the Government too. So when I hear people saying you should cut taxes on these things, I ask myself, ‘well I confuse, because where will I get the money from, to pay if you all want me to cut taxes over here to do this’,” he said.
Dismissing criticisms of Government’s management of cost of living impacts, Straughn said “There is nothing credible there to be taken seriously.
“You would have heard, in the past, the level of reserves that we had when we came in, $400 000 million. Today, it is just about $2.7 billion in reserves we have in the country. So there is no doubt in anybody’s mind as to whether the Barbados dollar will devalue.
“As a matter of fact, nobody asks that question now in years. But there were questions before. You would have seen based on our fiscal performance that we would have gotten upgrades in recent times and we want that continue, but it means that we got to deliver growth.
“Notwithstanding that there is a global environment, the outlook for Barbados is very positive, the debt is on a downward trajectory, in spite of the fact that we had to borrow for COVID,” Straughn said.