Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit announced that the 2023-24 national budget will be one which promotes sustainable economic development even as Dominica faces the challenges posed by global crises.
Speaking at his bi-weekly press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Skerrit said small islands such as Dominica are seeing the effects of global events such as the Russia-Ukraine war while still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister said that the challenges must be taken into consideration when formulating the national budget.
“We’re not immune to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war or the impact of external economic shocks on our small economies. We are observing interest in what looks like a banking crisis developed in the United States with the recent collapse of three Banks and we are still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are experiencing the high inflation associated with the war, sharp increases in food and commodity prices and of course higher fuel costs. We have very little control over these market forces,” said the prime minister.
On the problems of small islands, PM Skerrit stated that their small size and population make them especially vulnerable. So, the challenges do exist and these realities will have to be taken into consideration when planning the 2023-2024 budget.
He said that measures must be taken to sustain the growth. The country has made investments in various sectors, including tourism and agriculture, while developing a strategic approach to public sector expenditure. PM Roosevelt Skerrit said that the approach must be to consolidate the gains the country has made since the COVID-19 pandemic with measures to maintain growth in tourism, agriculture, the construction sector, Small Business Development, manufacturing and the digital economy.
Prime Minister noted, “We must also develop a more strategic approach to public sector expenditure, ensuring that our approach to public spending reflects the realities of all times.” Prime Minister Skerrit said that the national budget will be one that is transparent while promoting economic development in all sectors.
He said that the budget will be transparent and it will promote inclusive Economic Development, harness the advances the government have made in renewable energy development, the construction of the International Airport, hotel development and agriculture. “We’ll present a fiscal package which is responsive to the needs of our people but also a reflection of the responsible approach we have always taken in the management of this country’s affairs.”
Outlining the aspects of the budget, PM Skerrit cited that the budget is also expected to focus on the development and investments the government has made in the blue economy. He said that there will also be a very clear policy direction for the efforts to advance the blue economy.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that they believe in a government that there are huge potential and a lot of the positive comments they’re receiving from various publications in large measure due to the respect for the environment. He said, “What we’re doing in respect to our oceans and we are working with International Partners who have been advising us on some additional policy actions we can take to set Dominica apart in so far as a professionally marine space and its economy.
PM Skerrit said that the Minister of Finance shall come in consultations with various stakeholders as part of their usual preparation for the budget.