Fri 29th Dec 2017
The International Money Fund (IMF) December 2017 Country Report on SVG, shows good reasons why SVG needs a financially competent government and a Vincentian minister of finance that is a university graduate in Accounts and Finance.
The IMF 2017 report on SVG says that the exchange rate is overvalued by up to 45%. The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) has been pegged to the United States dollar since 1976, at an exchange rate of US$1 = EC$2.70.
This is very bad for the SVG economy and severely reduces our ability to export goods and services, as the EC$ is too strong. The failure by the ULP regime to devalue the EC$, or introduce our own currency at a lower value than the EC$, is a clear illustration of how financially dotish they are.
The ULP regime has been in office since 2001 and not taken this crucial step of devaluation to make our economy stronger. We have wasted 16 years and need a Vincentian minister of finance that is a university graduate in Accounts and Finance, to grow the economy and reduce poverty and unemployment faster.
For many years, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, who has a BSc (hons) degree in Accounts and Finance and Economics from Oxford Brookes University, England, has called for SVG to have its own central bank and its own currency that is pegged to the USA dollar at a rate less valuable than the EC$.
The IMF report says that the fiscal position of SVG worsened in 2017 and that there is a decline in revenue. Another indication that the ULP regime is financially incompetent.
The IMF report says that VAT at 16% is high and the overall balance for the SVG economy was negative for the past 6 years. Another indication that the ULP regime is financially incompetent.
The IMF report says that, under current policies, public debt is projected to continue to rise from its already high level 77.5% of GDP. This shows that SVG is on the wrong track having the ULP regime in government, as they lack the financial ability to create a strong economy and substantially reduce the public debt.
The Argyle airport was meant to save SVG. Now the airport is finished, the economy and country is still in really deep financial trouble. The IMF report says that the operating losses at the state owned-and-run airport need to be addressed. Another indication that the ULP regime is financially incompetent.
The IMF report says that, there is ample scope for broadening the tax base by streamlining tax concessions and exemptions, and for collecting tax arrears. This would limit the need for further increasing tax rates.
This means that, unless the billions of dollars in tax exemptions given to Taiwan and the super-rich parasitic migrants of Mustique and Canouan are abolished, Vincentians will be taxed a lot more.
According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, the SVG economy is in serious crisis and the IMF report highlights this and illustrates the financial incompetence of the ULP regime.
Since independence, SVG has had a Minister of Finance who is not a university graduate in Accounts or Finance, and consequently, our economy and people have suffered substantially. The IMF report demonstrates the fact that SVG needs a government that is financially competent and can manage SVG’s public finances properly and boost the economy.