Premier Farrell Presents EC 236.03 Million Dollars Budget

(GIU Press Release) – Montserrat’s Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Joseph E. Farrell today presented a budget totaling EC$236.03 million Eastern Caribbean dollars for the Government of Montserrat’s 2024-2025 financial year.

This total consists of $155.7 million for recurrent expenditure and $80.6 million in capital investment projects.

The Government’s budget presentation was delivered under the theme ‘From Vision to Reality: Transforming our Economy, Protecting our Environment, and Empowering our Communities’. This theme, as noted by the Minister of Finance “…encapsulates the essence of our mission in translating these dollars into outcomes”.

Hon Farrell further stated that this year’s budget is “…unprecedented in terms of its value, and the scale of impact it will deliver.” Following last year’s largest increase (25%) in budgetary aid for Montserrat in recent times, the Government was able to again secure
that increase for this fiscal year (2024-2025), and has also surpassed last year’s contribution, as Hon. Farrell announced that this year’s budget also includes “…an additional $2.23 million for new spend priorities.”

In his presentation, delivered during the meeting of the Legislative Assembly at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, the Minister of Finance reflected on his administrations’ tenure, acknowledging the difficulties and uncertainties experienced during the COVID19 pandemic, which began during his administration’s first year in Office.

Despite this, and other global issues which had ripple effects on Montserrat, Hon. Farrell highlighted some of the major accomplishments during the last year, to include the work done on capital/infrastructure projects.

Looking ahead at Government’s plans for this year, the Minister of Finance reiterated that the local economy is expected to grow by nearly 5%, adding that further progress and completion of major capital investments is anticipated. He said, “2024-2025 will see even
more investment come on stream, together with responsible fiscal interventions to provide additional support to the Montserrat public and business community.”

In addition to highlighting the capital projects which will be completed or advanced during the financial year, Hon. Farrell also outlined the priority areas which the Government has allocated funds for delivery. These include:

– Revisiting the Little Bay Masterplan which includes implementing new infrastructure and advancing engagements with potential investors. This investment will include $2.0m of funding this financial year.

– Launching the Sports Rehabilitation Project, an investment which will include $1.0m of funding this financial year, to deliver a new motor sport race track in Montserrat, completing the refurbishment of the multi-purpose sports centre flooring, and installing new sporting facilities at Lookout, Davy Hill, and Drummonds.

– Launching the Agricultural Products Expansion Project, which will include initiatives to increase the production, yield and efficiency of our agricultural product. This investment will include $1.5m of funding in this Financial Year.

New fiscal measures to include tax reform were also announced by Hon. Farrell as the Government will implement revised tax bands for ‘Pay as you Earn’ (PAYE taxation) which will reduce taxation on overall income starting April 2024.

A salary increase of 3% for all Government employees effective April 2024 was also announced during the budget presentation.

This year, the Government will also create a new Ministry—The Ministry of Communication and Digital Transformation, which Minister Farrell explained is a “…strategic move to harness technology and drive economic growth, enhance public services and empower citizens.”
Additionally, The Tourism Division, currently under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier, will transition into the Montserrat Tourism Authority this fiscal year. These and other priorities can be viewed in the full budget statement.

The details of the estimated recurrent revenue and expenditures for the 2024-2025 fiscal period are as follows:

 Total Expenditure (including debt servicing) – EC$155.07 million.
 Revenue estimate for 2024/25 is EC$155.07 million a 3% increase over the 2023/2024 approved estimates. Including budgetary aid of $100.17m
 Capital Expenditure for 2024/25 is EC$80.6million.

The Recurrent Budget provides a reflection of a number of policies and programmes aimed at moving Government towards fiscal sustainability. The recurrent budget is used to facilitate salaries, wages, and operational expenses of the Ministries and Departments
across Government.

Full details on the 2024-25 Budget can be accessed on the Government of Montserrat website. To download and read the full Budget Statement visit www.gov.ms and click on the publications section, on the Ministry of Finance page.

Direct link for the budget statement: Budget-Speech-2024-Publish-PDF