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Nevis Government Tables 'Conservative' Budget

by Carla Johnson, Investors, London

15 December 2008

Premier and Finance Minister of Nevis Joseph Parry tabled his XCD153.3m (USD57.4m) ‘conservative’ 2009 budget this week; the budget contained significant cuts in capital expenditure with only some public sectors receiving increased spending.

The budget draft which was brought before the Nevis Island Assembly on December 9, has been described as conservative by many, as it contains a 50% reduction in capital expenditure. However four public sectors will benefit from the draft.

The Ministry of Agriculture received the largest budget increase with a boost of 31.4% on its 2008 allowance, whilst health and tourism received increases of 16% and 12.2% respectively. The education sector will receive an additional 18.5% over last year's budget.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Lawry Lawrence explained that the global financial crisis had affected Nevis heavily, with the tourism industry, remittances and foreign direct investment all suffering.

“Next year we are going to have to be much more cautious with our capital expenditure. We must minimise debt levels and ride out the storm we are currently going through,” he added.

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