2021 Budget, Resilience In The Face Of Adversity 

PR – Newly appointed Minister for Finance  Hon. Gregory Bowen, in presenting the 2021 Budget before a socially distanced  audience at the Parliament building on Wednesday, said, that the scope and  magnitude of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, will requre bold  and decisive leadership. 

Minister Bowen said Grenada has experienced its worst economic downturn on  record. 

He intimated that the road ahead will be extremely difficult as we reshape and renew  our economy and society in this new and uncertain environment. At the same time,  he expressed confidence that the kind of leadership demonstrated previously by this  Administration, in rebuilding the economy after Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, and the  global financial crisis, will enable us to eventually rise from the ashes of this  pandemic. 

Grenada has recorded forty-one cases of COVID-19 to date. Minister Bowen said, as a  nation and a people, we have again demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of  adversity. 

Minister Bowen highlighted the importance of remaining steadfast in our efforts to  protect our people and rebuild our economy. He said while we are proud of our  response to the pandemic, much work lies ahead. 

Consistent with the imperatives for recovery, transformation, and resilience, the 2021  Estimate of Expenditure provides for a total expenditure (including amortization) of  one billion, two hundred and thirty-two million, six hundred and seventy thousand,  and forty-nine dollars ($1,232,670,049). 

The Government will strategically prioritise the Public Sector Investment Programme  and strengthen systems and capacity to increase the implementation rate of projects  and programmes that are deemed to best support resilience, inclusive growth and job  creation as fundamental elements of economic recovery and sustainable  development. 

Amidst the fact that the pandemic has triggered an unparalleled decline in our  economy and compounded our major developmental challenges, the policies, plans,  and programmes announced in the budget speech will help us recover in a robust 

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and inclusive way, support our social and economic transformation, and further  build resilience, Mr. Bowen said. 

The private sector is expected to play a major role in the provision of jobs and  resuscitation of the tourism sector, livestock and agroprocessing. The Finance  Minister stated that overcoming our current challenges, therefore, requires an  extraordinary response. He noted too that with a roll out of one of the country’s  largest capital budgets ever, which will generate thousands of employment  opportunities for Grenadians, the private sector is energised and will also add  thousands of new jobs. 

Minister Bowen said Grenada’s solid fiscal position weakened considerably in the first  half of 2020 as revenues declined sharply and expenditure needs grew to cushion the  economic blow, dealt by COVID-19, with the combined effect exerting a serious strain  on Government’s finances. By year end, current revenues are expected to reach  EC$654.2 million, compared to a target of EC$786.2 million, a shortfall of EC$132  million. When taken together with current revenues and grants underperformed by  EC$236 million as a direct consequence of the pandemic. 

However, the Finance Minister stated that positive economic growth is projected to  return in 2021. He said, “significant efforts will be made to contain recurrent  discretionary spending to allow for greater recovery spending on the capital side.”