Health & Security Levy falls short of Projected Target

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Philip J. Pierre, on Tuesday, March 26, formally presented the approved Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2024/2025, to the House of Assembly.

One of the major issues discussed by the prime minister was the status of the Health and Security Levy and the amount of revenue generated from it.

PM Pierre stated that the 2024-2025 Estimates will lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the economy. He is optimistic that the estimates will provide hope for the populace, and hope that it will provide investment and employment opportunities across all major sectors of the economy.

He said that despite the negative connotations and misinformation and exaggerations peddled by the opposition concerning the Health and Security Levy, its impact on the local eceonomy provided a relatively small but important collective contribution to the huge demands that health and safety places on the resources of the country.

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre
Prime Minister Philip J Pierre

“The projected collection from the Health and Security Levy was approximately $35 million, designed to finance in part rising healthcare costs and the security needs of our country.” Said the PM

However, he said, given the delayed implementation of the levy, they are estimating a collection of $18 million by the end of the fiscal year- 48% less than projected.

The prime minister explained that with an increase in revenue of $118M during the last year, only $18M could be attributed to the Health and Security Levy.

He said, there is need to take proactive measures for the government to keep pace with rising costs in the global market, particularly relating to health issues.

Analyzing the situation, the finance minister provided an update on government’s expenditure in Health Care.

Direct Cost of Health Care:
– Provision of health care services $160.0 million
– Capital Expenses:
a. St Jude Hospital reconstruction project: $17 million
b. Health System Strengthening Project: $ 5.3 million
c. OECS Regional Health Project: $ 2.3 million
d. Universal Health Coverage: $ 0.7 million
e. Other projects under Health: $ 3.4 million
Total Capital Expenses $ 28.7million
Total Expenses $188.7million

Additionally, he said, the government is indebted to several private local and foreign healthcare facilities that provide medical care to citizens.
National Security:
a. Provision of national security services: $84.7 million
b. Capital projects: $ 1.5 million
Total Expenses $86.2million
The National Security Minister said other expenses relating to the purchase of vehicles and equipment will be outlined in the Policy Statement to be read next month.

He also said that while the government’s direct expenses on Health and Security amounted to $275 million for the fiscal year 2023/2024, “only $18 million was collected from the health and security levy to fund the needs of the country.”

Nonetheless, said Pierre, though the Projected Total Revenue target for 2023-24, fell short although revenue collection continues to indicate an upward trend because of increasing economic activity.

He asserted that this has resulted “in improved performance in several revenue generating areas, notably, personal income tax, taxes on goods and services, and excise tax on petroleum products.”

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