The Turks and Caicos Islands economy is outperforming the government’s 2021/2022 budget expectation to the point that a $69.5m projected deficit has now been turned into a $16m surplus.
Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade Hon. E. Jay Saunders, in a news conference on Monday, November 8, pointed out that most of the revenue drivers have outperformed expectations.
He said the original budget included a deficit of $69.5m, which he said would have required a drawdown of loan facility. However, the current forecast is projecting an $89.7m increase in revenue over the original budget, which he said put the country on course to record the $16m surplus.
He said government set a revenue target of $271,973,250. However, the current overall revenue raked in so far is $361,258,895, an increase of $89,285,645 or 99.5 percent.
The main driver, according to the finance minister was Stamp Duty from Property Sales. According to him, government had projected to haul in $45m from property sales stamp duty, but has so far raked in $79,875,396, an increase of $34,875,396 or 22 percent.
Customs and import duties were projected to yield $88,818,500, but has climbed to $110,332,748, an increase of $21,514,248 or 30 percent. He said revenue from work permits and immigration fees was projected at $25,391,587. However, so far $27,324,063, a $1,932,476 or 7.5 percent increase.
Revenue from accommodation tax was budgeted at $64,943,894. But such revenue has climbed to $80,169,538, a $15,225,644 or 21.1 percent increase. Fuel Tax was supposed to contribute $8,848,140. However, so far, it has yielded $10,948,168, an increase of $2,100,028m or 3.0 percent.
Revenue from motor vehicle and driver’s license fees was projected at $4,479,393. But so far, $5,314,949, which is an increase of $835,556 or 1.5 percent increase. Banking fees were projected to land $4,777,562. However, so far, $5,752,822 has been collected, which is an increase of $976,260 or 1.6 percent.
The government did not list any revenue for Airport and Travel Taxes, but so far raked in $4million. Government was expecting to raise $29,715,174 during this financial year from other incomes, but so far collected $37,541,211, an increase of $7,826,037 or 10 percent.
The finance minister said that spending so far has fallen below expectation for the most part.
He pointed out that government was projected at this time to spend 102,623,372 on Salaries, Wages and Allowances, but has spent $99,497,441, which is $3,125,931 or 28 percent less than expected. On pensions and gratuities, government was expected to spend $9,955,373, but has spent $9,455,373, a saving of $500,000 or 2.7 percent.
Total personnel recurrent cost was set at $112,578,745. But so far spent $108,952,814, a saving of $3,625,931 or 31.4 percent. Government had expected to spend $17,819,270 in grants and contributions, but has spent $17,819,270, a saving of $2m.
Property rentals has broken even at $6,071,125, so too were operating, maintenance, utility, communication expenses, which stood at $11,451,447; $10,667,071; $4,267,676; and $2,124,160 respectively. Subventions were projected to be $23,647,511, but $22,677,511 or $875,000 or an increase of 1.9 percent was spent.
He pointed out that in some areas, government has spent just over what was budgeted. One of the areas is local and travel and subsistence, which was budgeted at $3,070,070, but $3,100,075 has been spent so far, which is an increase of $30,000.
NIB and Hospital Charges, another area of increased spending, was estimated at $55,417,966, but so far has spent $56,417,966, an overspending of $1m or an increase of 16.3 percent.
Government had budgeted to spend $5,795,921 on professional and consultancy services, but has spent $6,670,921, an increase of $875,000.
In the area of Other Expenses, government budgeted to spend $51,278,745, but so far spent $54, 678,348, an increased spending of $3,399,603, a 15 percent increase.
Government has seen a 56 percent rise in the Other Cost category. A total of $191,610,967 was budgeted for that area, but a total of $193,945,570 has been spent so far, which is an increase of $2,334,603.
The Ministry of Health and Human Services has taken the lion share of the spending with $81,471,267 or 23 percent of the budgeted sum. Statutory charges and Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service with $67,219,805 and $40,111,773 round off the three most expensive departments.