Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Allen
Chastanet, presented the One Billion, Five Hundred and
Ninety-one Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-nine Thousand, dollars 2018/2019 Appropriation Bill on April 15th April 2019.
The Prime Minister revealed that the government policy direction will focus on investing in people, major infrastructure projects, restructuring debt and fixing the ailing healthcare system.
According to Prime Minister Chastanet, the economy has grown by 8% since the United Workers Party formed the government in 2016; debt to GDP has been reduced, stay over visitors increased from 344,000 in 2015, to 394,000 in 2018, the cruise sector continues to break records. The number of cruise visitors jumped from 677,000 in 2015 to 760,000 in 2018.
There is strong investor confidence and unemployment has fallen from 24.1% in 2015 to 20.2% in 2018.
Despite all of these positives, the Prime Minister observed that St. Lucia has been lagging behind in the quality of life indices.
While he says this is the premise on which this year’s Budget is grounded, there is a need to break free from stagnation and focus on the things that are going to turn the lives of the people around.
The Government has been engaged in restructuring the economy, putting it on a path to growth and has developed a medium term development plan for the period 2019-2022, inclusive of six key areas to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth by 2022.
This he says will provide opportunities for our young people to be in a better position to find jobs, own their own homes and to give them a future as productive citizens of their country.
It will give farmers the ability to earn more to support their families, provide more jobs in the construction and tourism industries while ensuring every St. Lucian has access to affordable, quality healthcare and make travel into and around our country safer and more comfortable.
The Budget address was delivered under the theme “Growth by Empowerment for a Better Future.”