(CMR) Minister of Finance Christopher Saunders revealed that Government is doing better in 2021 than in 2020, with a Surplus of $202.6 million for the entire Public Sector.
The original budget for the 2021 Financial Year, which was compiled in late 2019, forecasted a surplus of $168.8 million for the first three months of 2021
Combining the Central Government’s Surplus of $196.2 million with a $6.4 million net Surplus from Statutory Authorities & Government-owned Companies (SAGCs), the Entire Public Sector (EPS), had a Surplus of $202.6 million at the end of March 2021, which was $43.1m better than budgeted and $25.4m better than 2020.
“Government earned a Surplus of $196.2 million for the first three months of the year. As in previous years, this is driven by fees earned from the financial services industry where many companies are required to pay their annual fees within the first 3 months of the year,” Saunders explained.
Minister Saunders also explained that the Government’s Debt-to-GDP ratio is a very favorable 5.1%, one of the lowest in the world, and affirmed that the Government would refrain from borrowing for as long as possible. However, he said this might become necessary if the border remains closed and the economy is not operating at its full potential.
“Debt owed by Government at 31st March 2021 was $243.8 million. This balance continues to decrease as Government makes its repayment of loan principal on-schedule,” Saunders said.
Saunders said the Government had a total of $611.2 million in bank account balances. This is made up of $172.1 million which is the Reserve and Restricted Deposits. Of this $172.1 million, $104.4 million represents the Government’s General Reserves and, by tradition, cannot be used without the consent of Parliament.
Also included in this $172.1 million is the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which has a balance of $58 million. The use of monies in the EPF requires the approval of the Finance Committee. As a result, none of the $172.1 million can be used freely by the Government without the approval of Parliament and/or the Finance Committee.
Saunders explained that the part of the $611.2 million that can be used freely by the Government is $439.1 million, which is termed the “Operating Cash and Deposits.”
Meantime, Minister Saunders said there would be no cuts in domestic spending, and the government will be looking at ways to encourage funds to remain in the domestic economy. He said motivating more people to support local farmers and being more energy-efficient would help to reduce the amount of monies sent overseas to buy agricultural and fuel products.