PACT projects a deficit of C $ 15 million for the 2022 budget

Finance Minister Christ Saunders delivers the budget speech

(CNS): The government expects a net deficit of C $ 15.8 million for the entire public sector in 2022 due to an anticipated loss by public authorities, but Finance Minister Chris Saunders predicts an overall surplus of over $ 8.5 million in 2023. In Friday’s budget speech, he said it was not ideal to start with a deficit, but the UK allowed the Caymans to go into the red, given the global pandemic and based on the return to surplus the following year.

Losses are expected at the airport, Cayman Airways, Cayman Turtle Center and the port. The budget projects revenues of $ 940.9 million and core government spending of $ 906.8 million next year, while in 2023 it expects to raise $ 978.1 million and spend a record amount of $ 933.4 million.

Presenting PACT’s spending plans to parliament on Friday, he said there were no new fees or taxes, but the government was cutting some tariffs on baby food, infant formula and other products. , including diapers, as well as feminine hygiene products and protective underwear for adults.

The minister said the government expects these tariff cuts to be passed on to the public, but revealed that PACT will introduce a consumer protection bill in this parliamentary session that will ensure these savings are made. passed on and retailers are prevented from exploiting the public. .

He warned of the challenges ahead due to the global pandemic, but said PACT has a clear plan to manage financial resources to use them prudently while meeting its main goals. “This budget is about providing our people with the opportunities and tools to build the best life they want for themselves and their families,” he said. “It won’t be an easy process. “

Saunders said one of the top expenses for the next two years would be personnel costs for public sector workers, which are expected to account for almost half of all government spending – $ 437.2 million in 2022 and 459 , $ 3 million in 2023, which will include spending on more teachers, police, firefighters, Radio-Canada staff and prison officers, as well as an increase in health premiums for civil servants.

The finance minister said the government would draw on the line of credit negotiated by the previous government to help cover the continued additional expenses related to COVID-19. While the government has been able to fund the costs of the pandemic to date from its reserves, it will need to borrow over the next two years to fund investment projects and support statutory authorities and government enterprises. Saunders said he expected to borrow $ 299 million next year and $ 50 million in 2023.

But despite the loans, the finance minister said the country would stay within the net debt ratio set by the law on public management and finance.

CI $ 61.5 million will be spent on social protection programs and youth support, including 2,500 scholarships per year, as well as financial assistance costs, such as continuous tourist allowance, money for most vulnerable families as well as the benefits for sailors and veterans.

He said the government believes that public sector capital investments are an important and necessary catalyst in the development of the islands and that it will inject well over $ 300 million into public projects over the next two years, including including schools, waste management project, land acquisition for conservation, infrastructure, prison and courthouse improvements.

Money would also be invested in the Housing Trust to build affordable housing for locals to address the nation’s problem of excessive property prices.

Check back to the CNS to learn more about the budget, more details on where the money will be raised and spent, and the current state of public finances.

See all budget documents in the SNC Library.

Watch Saunders deliver the Budget speech on CIGTV below:

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