Highlights: Dominica gets $1.2 Billion budget

Dominica: Dr Irving McIntyre, presented the National Budget 2023-2024.

Roseau, Dominica: The Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience and Social Security – Dr Irving McIntyre, presented the National Budget 2023-2024 of $1.2 billion at the third meeting of the 1st session of the 11th parliament on July 25, 2023. The budget was tabled in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit.

While presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024, the Minister of Finance mentioned that the government of Dominica has focused on some major issues, including housing, healthcare, agriculture, tourism and major construction projects such as the international airport, construction of Marina as well as Geothermal Power Plant.

Finance Minister McIntyre outlined that the IMF has estimated the projected 2023 economic growth by 4.7 percent, which will be majorly fuelled by the major ongoing investments in agriculture, tourism and construction.

Finance Minister Irving McIntyre and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

According to the budget presented by the Finance Ministry, the capital expenditure is as follows:
• Office of the President – 1.0 million
• National Security and Legal Affairs – 5.2 million
• Elections – 0.7 million
• Office of the Prime Minister – 265.7 million
• Ministry for Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience and Social Security – 11.1 million
• Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue Economy – 47.5 million
• Ministry for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence – 23.6 million
• Ministry for Housing and Urban Development – 69.1 million
• Ministry for Health, Wellness and Social Services – 11.7 million
• Ministry for Environment, Rural Kalinago Upliftment and Constituency Empowerment – 35.9 million
• Ministry for Tourism – 21.3 million
• Ministry for Culture, Youth, Sports and Community Development – 25.7 million
• Ministry for Establishment, Personnel and Training Development – 12.5 million
• Ministry for Public Works, Public Utilities and the Digital Economy – 138.0 million
• Ministry for Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy – 19.7 million
• Cabinet Office – 1.2 million
• Ministry for Labour, Public Service Reform, Social Partnership, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development – 11. 7 million

Here are the priorities listed by Finance Minister Dr Irving McIntyre:

1) Agricultural Sector:
Contribution of $700 million by the year 2030
> Reducing the food import bill by 25 percent by 2025
> A special focus on food security
> To support production, the allocation for this year is $56.2 million
> Plans to increase production of agricultural produce, livestock, horticulture, and fishing
> Production of White Potatoes
> At least 15 percent of imports from local production by 2025
> $13.0 million tissue culture laboratory at Portsmouth nearing completion
> Tree crops and livestock expansion programmes at an estimated cost of $800,000
> $2.7 million to redevelop the Agricultural Centres at Portsmouth, Woodford Hill, Londonderry, and La Plaine
> $ 11.4 million to upgrade priority agriculture infrastructure
> $1.8 million in livestock development
> Appointment of 15-member Task Force on Farm Labour
> $5.8 million contract for the rehabilitation of farm roads
> Reactivation of the Agricultural Investment Unit
> At least 2,000 acres of land to establish 2.5–10 acre-plots of long-term crops, such as avocadoes, coffee, cocoa, coconuts, and citrus
> Establishment of an Agricultural Produce Procurement Facility with DEXIA valued at $5 million
> $1.0 million to provide operating space for agro-processors
> $1.0 million has also been allocated to provide grants to juice producers
> $27.8 million concessional loan facility at the AID Bank for farmers and agro-processors

Read Full Budget Here: Dominica National Budget 2023-2024

2) Housing:
$1.5 million to be allocated this Fiscal Year
> Future Housing Development Programme
> Construction of 327 houses this Fiscal Year
> Relocation and resettlement of residents

3) Healthcare and Medical:
> Establishment of the Dominica Hospitals Authority
> Improving patient care, and patient and family experience at health and wellness centres, and hospitals
> Welfare and well-being of nurses, doctors, and staff at hospitals and health and wellness centres

4) Sports:
> Construction of two major national sports facilities in Portsmouth—an Olympic standard track and field facility
> Establishment of National Sports Trust Fund

5) Blue Economy:
> Health and resilience of coastal ecosystems
> Increase coastal fish stocks
> Ecotourism industry growth
> Preserve Dominica’s sperm whale population
> Establishment of the first Sperm Whale Reserve in the world
> Propose to use the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) mechanism prescribed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to implement a ban on the sailing of cargo ships and cruise ships in the sperm whale reserve area
> Increase the level of protection of these marine reserves to increase fish abundance
> Creation of a Marine Protected Area
> Innovation and digital technology to fight fisheries crimes
> Regulation of the dive sector, recreational fishing, whale watching and water sports activities

Read Full Budget Here: Dominica National Budget 2023-2023

6) Macroeconomic Yields:
> Increase stay-over visitors, increase visitor spend, increase employment and resilient livelihoods.
> Ambitious target: to increase stay-over visitor arrivals to 500,000 by 2030
> Focus on Marine Tourism: Commencement of the construction of the marina in Portsmouth
> Development of Culinary Art Institute at the Dominica State College
> Introducing e-gates at our major ports of entry
> Construction of a Vendors Arcade
> Construction of the cable car to the Boiling Lake

7) Renewable Energy Investments:
> Reduction in the cost of electricity in Dominica
> Generation of 100% of electricity from renewable sources
> Creation of new commercial activity based on abundant geothermal resources.
> Geothermal Power Plant: Construction of the power plant; and building of a new high-capacity transmission network

8) Digital Economy:
> Launch of a single window trade facility called ‘Tradestream.’
> Digital Health Management and Information System
> Electronic entry permit mechanism and immigration kiosks at all ports of entry
> System to develop the Inland Revenue Division
> Commissioning of Unified Identification Citizen Authentication and Civil Registry System
> Providing grants of up to $27,000 to support digital technology
> Job Creation

Read Full Budget Here: Dominica Budget 2023-2024

9) Small and Medium Businesses:
AID Bank approved 277 loans at a total value of $16.5 million.
> Service sector accounted for 133 loans valued at $5.5 million
> Tourism sector received 28 loans valued at $5.4 million
> Transportation sector received 26 loans totalling $2.2 million
> Agriculture sector accounted for 80 loans amounting to $2.1 million
> 10 loans valued at $1.3 million were given to businesses engaged in Manufacturing

George Henry

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