MORE EVIDENCE EMERGES OF THE STRENGTH OF THE PUBLIC FINANCES

Wage Bill of $12 million  for the month of  December  includes retroactive pay

of $3 million for  government employees

 

prime_minister_skerrit_at_public_service_day_2008.jpgRoseau, Dominica – December 22, 2008…….. Yet more evidence has emerged of the strength of the public finances in Dominica. On Friday, December 19, 2008, Government paid salaries to government employees amounting to approximately $12 million. This amount includes retroactive pay (back pay) to public officers of $3 million representing a 1% increase for the financial year, 2007-2008 and a 2% increase for the financial year, 2008/2009. 

The fact that Government was able to pay salaries for the month of December as well as retroactive pay at the same time is a demonstration of how far our country has come in the last few years.

 

The steady improvement in the country’s fiscal position despite the effects of Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Omar has enabled the Government to meet its commitments to government employees on a timely basis over the last few years. The country’s healthy fiscal position has also allowed the Government to service debt and borrow for growth projects as well as pay bills to the business community and public utilities and maintain social services.

 

The strength of the public finances has allowed the Government to provide relief to various sections of the population in the last two years. Some of the relief measures include:

 

Ø     Amounts paid as public assistance increased by 50% from July this  year

Ø     The School Transfer Grant was doubled in the last budget from $250 to $500

Ø     Persons over 65 and persons under 18 no longer pay hospital user fees

Ø     The first phase of the income tax reform programme took effect from January 1, 2008, resulting in 1,036 persons no longer paying income tax

Ø     From January 1, 2009, the second phase of the income tax reform programme will result in 585 persons no longer paying income tax.

Ø     The removal of excise tax on Liquefied Petroleum Gas has resulted in a lower price for the commodity

Ø     Allowances were increased in last year’s budget for bursary and scholarship holders

Ø     All pension incomes are now exempt of income tax  

 

In addition to those relief measures, Government has reduced the price of petroleum products in keeping with the fall in the price of oil on the international market.

 

The price of gasoline, diesel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas are now at their lowest levels in over four years. Government will continue to reduce the cost of petroleum products if the present trend in falling oil prices continues.

 

The Government of Prime Minister Roosevelt will continue to be guided by fiscal prudence in the management of the country’s resources.

 

The Government recognises that any weakening of its tight fiscal posture especially in light of the present global financial crisis could easily reverse the gains the country has made in the last few years.

 

Earlier this month, the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) accepted Government’s offer of a 1% salary increase for the 2007/2008 financial year and a 2% increase for the 2008/2009 financial year.  The DPSU had already accepted the 3% offer for 2006/2007. 

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