Turks and Caicos 2015-2016 fiscal plan agreed with Britain
Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and UK ministers have formally agreed their annual fiscal strategy and policy statement (FSPS), which shapes the forthcoming budget negotiations in the British Overseas Territory.
The FSPS outlines the key policy objectives for the TCI elected government for the financial year 2015/16, within the agreed framework of efficient economic planning, affordability and use of public monies between the TCI and the UK
The detailed budget, which will support the implementation of the government’s policies, is now being prepared and will be presented soon to the TCI House of Assembly by finance minister, Washington Misick.
“Our agreement that unspent funds in the development fund account in this financial year can be rolled over into 2015/16, if committed to before the end of March 2015, is a major successes of our negotiations with UK Ministers, and will mean that public investment in capital projects to be undertaken in 2015/16 will be increased,” said Misick.
“We are able to do this because of this country’s prudent economic path. Since we were elected in 2012, the TCI has experienced above average Caribbean growth, and improved government revenues. This agreement will ensure that rollover approximately $6 million to support our policy commitments, rather than otherwise reallocating these monies to debt reduction.
“However, our anticipated revenues for 2015/16 mean that we will see increased but controlled public spending and continued planned debt reduction too. Reducing the amount of interest that this government pays is a key priority. It is only from this solid base that we can look to increase our revenues, improve our statutory bodies and work better with the private sector,” he added.
A key policy highlighted in the FSPS was the implementation of the proposed pay and grading review, to address pay anomalies in the public service, and assist in the recruitment and retention of critical front line staff.
The FSPS also outlines the government’s intention to remove or reduce some taxes, such as freight and insurance and business licences fees to facilitate new business start-ups, by lowering barriers to business entry into the market.
Other policy priorities for the TCI government in 2015/16 are:
• Environmental protection
• Environmental cleanliness
• Strengthening of Local Governance in the family islands to improve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery
• Marketing and promotion of the family islands as tourist destinations
• Cultural and heritage celebration
• Youth development
• Government information service
• Tertiary education – scholarship allocation, increased funding for TCI Community College and civil servants training
• Monitoring of the existing PPP with Inter-Health Canada to improve value for money
The approval of the FSPS allows the formal preparation of the 2015/16 budget, which will complete its passage through the House of Assembly within the constitutionally mandated timeframe ending 31 March 2015.