BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 4TH, 2016 (PRESS SEC) — Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris will deliver the highly anticipated 2017 Budget Address this Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 during a meeting of the National Assembly, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00am.
Dr. Harris’ budget presentation falls under the item of Public Business on the Order Paper. “This typically takes around three hours,” the Honourable A. Michael Perkins, Speaker of the National Assembly, said today, December 4th.
The Honourable Speaker added that, “Following this presentation, Parliament will adjourn until the next day, Thursday, at which time the Leader of the Opposition is expected to respond and has the right to do so in equal time to the Prime Minister. Under the rules of the House (Section 40 of Standing Orders), all other members – 13 of them – will have 90 minutes each to make their presentation but may have an additional 30 minutes each, subject to the approval of the Parliament. With this two-hour time limit, Parliament can be expected to go until Monday evening or even thereafter.”
Speaker Perkins continued: “The new Deputy Speaker, Senator Akilah Byron-Nisbett, is highly expected to have her first stints of presiding during this budget debate, given the likely extended duration. I look forward to another historic moment in the advancement of our Parliamentary system.”
At his October press conference, Dr. Harris, who is the Minister of Finance, said that, “Recurrent revenue for the first nine months of 2016 totals $480.7 million: 9 percent above our budget. The tax revenue of $296.6 million was up over budget, and over the 2015 comparator. The fact that all of the revenue heads are performing above budget is a clear indication that something positive is happening in the economy, and that can’t be denied.”
Prime Minister Harris also said that, “Our fiscal accounts up to September 2016 record a recurrent surplus of $120.3 million, an overall surplus of $124.2 million, and a primary surplus of $141.6 million. Coming out of the Monetary Council meeting held on Friday, October 21st, we know that St. Kitts and Nevis is projected by our Central Bank to have the highest primary balance in the sub-region for the period 2016 to 2018. This is a major achievement for the new administration.”