Pierre Upbeat In Budget Policy Address – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

On April 23, 2024, Prime Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre presented his third Budget Policy address in Parliament. His 2024/25 Budget is rich with policies that will shore up the country’s fiscal position, encourage investment and economic development and positively impact the lives of everyday Saint Lucian citizens.

Mr. Speaker, in this year of infrastructure, I am satisfied that we have undertaken sufficient policy initiatives and interventions to realise the objectives of greater efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness in our physical, social and digital infrastructure. Alongside the realisation of these infrastructural objectives, we can look forward to growth in major sectors of the economy, new job opportunities, with youth employment on the rise, increased social protection for the vulnerable, and growing confidence in the good governance of our country among potential investors and the international community. By the end of this fiscal year, Saint Lucia is expected to be in a much better place.

The Prime Minister’s third Budget, dubbed the Year of Infrastructure, signifies the progress made by the Pierre Administration to reverse economic declines and position Saint Lucia on a stable course towards sustainable socio-economic development.

Mr. Speaker, over the past three years the Saint Lucia economy has been growing. This growth is being experienced across many sectors with business confidence up and unemployment down. 

The investments and employment opportunities that will be provided across all major sectors of the economy will bring real hope to the people. We will continue to build upon our previous successes, which have resulted in impressive economic growth rates of 11.5%, 20%, and 2.2% in GDP, after a contraction of over 24.5% in 2020.

The Year of Infrastructure heralds a revolutionary transformation phase for Saint Lucia. Physical infrastructure like roads, bridges and public buildings are earmarked for multi-million dollar facelifts.

…the government has entered negotiations with a Private Sector Developer to fund, in the first instance, $200m towards our National Road Development Programme.

 Mr. Speaker, in December 2023, this government introduced an infrastructure option to complement the other funding options. The new infrastructure option requires developers to raise the financing needed to undertake approved projects in a number of selected areas and recover their expenses through CIP. This means, Mr. Speaker, that improvement in the road network, community development projects, and housing can be implemented to improve the lives of our people without increasing the debt burden of the country.

The government will invest significantly in the digital space to improve efficiency in the public service and better serve the public.

From preschools to pensioners, the 2024/25 Budget will deliver direct support to a wide cross-section of the Saint Lucian public.

A one-off payment of $2500 will be made to each of the ninety-three (93) privately registered Early Childhood Centres to assist with the purchase of educational supplies. 

 Mr. Speaker, currently there are government pensioners who earn $300.00 monthly. Effective August 1, 2024 the minimum pensions payable to government pensioners will be increased to $725.00.

 At a request from government, the NIC in consultation with their actuaries have also decided to increase its minimum pension to $500 per month. About 2400 pensioners will benefit from this increase effective from 1st August 2024. This means Mr. Speaker that from 1st August, 2024, no government or NIC pensioner in this country, will receive less than $500 per month.

Prime Minister Pierre has designed a comprehensive Budget that will enrich the standard of living of ordinary Saint Lucians, provide increased support for vulnerable populations/groups and accelerate national development.

SOURCE: Office of the Prime Minister