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$483,738,163.00 Budget passed for 2024; Opposition got $200,000 for HoA works

The 2024 Appropriation Act, referred to as the National Budget, was passed late last night Tuesday, December 19, 2023, in the House of Assembly (HoA). Photo: VINO/File
The Leader of the Opposition Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) pleaded for funds to carry out the work of the Opposition legislators in the HoA and the Minister of Finance Dr Wheatley awarded some $200,000.00 to provide support for the work of the Opposition Legislators. Photo: HoA/Youtube
The Leader of the Opposition Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) pleaded for funds to carry out the work of the Opposition legislators in the HoA and the Minister of Finance Dr Wheatley awarded some $200,000.00 to provide support for the work of the Opposition Legislators. Photo: HoA/Youtube
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The 2024 Appropriation Act, referred to as the National Budget, was passed late last night Tuesday, December 19, 2023, in the House of Assembly (HoA).

The Budget was passed following two days of debate in which the Government defended their spending plans and their hard work after eight months in office, while the Opposition, with their usual role, said the spending plans lacked money for critical programmes.

One Opposition Member even claimed that there was an issue because the Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) missed a few days during the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) meetings while overseas on official business. This is not the first time in the last 12 years that a Minister of Finance has missed a few days during the SFC.

The Budget has increased from the $399,838,963 announced by Premier Wheatley in the HoA on November 21, 2023.

Opposition raked in $$$ for their HoA works

Passed last evening by the Legislative body was Recurrent Expenditure to the tune of $384,389,600.

Principal Payment on all Government loans stands at $15,693,100, and Fund Contribution to different special funds is at $6,697,163.

The Capital Expenditure in the 2024 Budget is $76,958,300 with a total 2024 Budget of $483,738,163.00.

The Leader of the Opposition Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL) pleaded for funds to carry out the work of the Opposition legislators in the HoA and the Minister of Finance Dr Wheatley awarded some $200,000.00 to provide support for the work of the Opposition Legislators.  

The Ministry of Finance headed by Financial Secretary Mr Jeremiah G. A Frett is the principal agency responsible for the coordination of the Budget process.

The 2024 Budget will take effect on January 1, 2024.

33 Responses to “$483,738,163.00 Budget passed for 2024; Opposition got $200,000 for HoA works”

  • asking for a friend (20/12/2023, 16:12) Like (6) Dislike (8) Reply
    What the opposition need money for?
    • Real (20/12/2023, 18:37) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
      The opposition members represent Districts too; STOP THIS NONSENSE NOW. Party politics has been one of the most destructive elements of this society. We prey on each other, making it that much easier for others to prey on us.
    • @asking for a friend (20/12/2023, 20:00) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      People voted for them too. No?
    • @ asking for a friend (21/12/2023, 04:52) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      To find ways to bring down the vip government
  • ONLY DAH? (20/12/2023, 16:28) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
  • Do the maths$ (20/12/2023, 17:28) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Free party 250 thousand$....Opposition 200 thousand$....Do you think that's fair?
  • Was that a figure misprint? (20/12/2023, 17:49) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    What! Did I miss something or am I ignorant of the BVI version of democratic practices? If not ignorant, then why only $200,000.00 for the opposition got for House of Assemble works? But if my mind did served me right, then doctortatorship in motions in the BVI. Poor minimum wages receivers, small paid Social Security and low paid salary poor people.
    A matter of facts, I know that since many years before now. God sees for us all
  • ... (20/12/2023, 18:02) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Overall, prices rose is there relief in the budget?
  • Independent candidate (20/12/2023, 18:21) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
    I would have never given the opposition a dime
  • Coconut tart Dry (20/12/2023, 18:40) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    What ayo does really do with this money cause something ain’t adding up. Just look at the state of this place…
  • GateKeeper (20/12/2023, 19:28) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The $484M is well below our regional sister OT competitors , viz Bermuda and Cayman Islands. Both Bermuda and Cayman Islands estimated 2024 Possible-2025 budgets, respectively are approx $1.15B, and Additionally, they are allocating much more for capital projects improvements. For example, CI is allocating approx $125M.

    Nevertheless, while the BVI public debt is approx $16M , Bermuda’s is approximately $3.1B and CI is approx $230M. And though low debt is good, the BvI has a low debt to GDP and a great need for both hard capital infrastructure soft capital infrastructure investment, but lacks the capital reserve to fund the need. Consequently, it must prudently borrow to meet its infrastructure and other needs

    Residents are increasingly demanding more services but displaying a disdain for any additional taxes or fees to pay for the increased services. Singapore, a small former British(UK has little to do with its economic success) and resource-poor country, has a thriving and competitive economy, but has one of the highest debt to GDP in the world, ie, 173% (2023). The reality is that the BVI is a resource -poor country and must borrow to meet its needs or stay a little sleepy hollow. Regardless of what it does, it must exercise budget maximizing efficiency with the current $484M , etc.

    By the way, what are Bermuda’s and CI’s primary revenue streams? Are they different from the BVI’s , if any?

    Disclaimer: Numbers noted have not be authenticated through multiple sources.
    • @GateKeeper (21/12/2023, 06:38) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      @GateKeeper, what is Cayman Islands 2024 budget? It is missing.
      • GateKeeper (21/12/2023, 10:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        To @ Gatekeeper, the CI budget number was truncated, but here it is, ie, $1.052B.
    • To GateKeeper (21/12/2023, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Good synopsis. A sleepy little hollow we are..
  • cnn (20/12/2023, 19:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Half of that money would not be spent, the civil servants will hold up things
  • Equation. (20/12/2023, 22:09) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Half of a Billion dollars for a Population of around 35 thousand people...We should be living in Paradise like Kings and Queens and prince and princesses. Good
    Clean Roads, void of sewage a consistent supply of electricity and water. Sad with all the doe. The expectations are the opposit..
    • @ Equation (21/12/2023, 06:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      To equation, yes, it is approximately half a billion dollars and government should maximize its expenditure. But given the cost to deliver services at a First World level to meet residents expectations, it falls short. Take a look at Gatekeeper’s post above on Bermuda and Cayman Islands budgets. If the figures are actual, they both doubles the BVI’s.
    • @Equation (21/12/2023, 12:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Equation, I don’t know about living in paradise like Kings and Queens, for that is fancy island, but the state of the territory should be in a better state, ie, better designed, constructed and maintained, more competitive education system, reliable water distribution system, better garbage collection and disposal system, higher quality healthcare system, more diversified economy, etc.
  • UK (20/12/2023, 23:19) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Great Britain needs to make a pitstop pull everything back together
    • @UK (21/12/2023, 06:03) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    • @ UK (21/12/2023, 09:43) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Cmon give them time, the voters still have faith in this government!
  • Josiahsbay (21/12/2023, 00:15) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    For the past twenty years, I've seen the budget steadily increase but I've not seen a meaningful allotment to the districts. Five million each would be a figure that they can work with. Make the district reps. earn their positions.
  • taxpayer (21/12/2023, 04:57) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good job to Natalio for passing all their budgets on time, NDP and Ronnie use to pass it some three months into the new year

    I can tell you one thing, VIP not going anywhere
  • ................................. (21/12/2023, 05:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We thank the politians as a country' s impact reaches far and wide, touching the lives of countless individuals and families.
  • @GateKeeper (21/12/2023, 08:07) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    You fail to put out that both Bermuda & Caymen have significantly larger economies than our BVI. Larger economy = larger budget. Good that you pointed out our low debt, and long may that last. debt is ruinous. And UK wants us to keep low debt. I cannot corroborate this but I bet Bermuda & Cayman have signed on to the UK lending protocols, which allows them to borrow more. but the more you borrow the more you have to pay back. One more thing before I go for a next cup of coffee- I agree with almost every other comment where we wonder what we get for $400 million. As a country we ignore investing in education & infrsatructure, and as @coconut tart stated "just look at the state of this place..." Really, we need to just shed some public service jobs and re-allocate those funds. And now for that 2nd cup of coffee...
    • GateKeeper (21/12/2023, 11:25) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      To @ GateKeeper, indeed I failed to note that both Bermuda and CI have larger GDP. But should we not ask why, for all three are resources-poor with service-based economies based primarily on tourism and financial services. As asked in my blog what are Bermuda and CI revenue streams ? I think we need to go to the 5 Why process,, ie, 5 Whys is the practice of asking why repeatedly whenever a problem is encountered in order to get beyond the obvious symptoms to discover the root cause, to get and find out why they have larger economies from similar sectors in the same region in the same industries.

      On the low debt issue, I have a different view. No country or individual like debt ( well the wealthy like debt for the tax breaks ( US)). However, when you are resource-poor and cash starved and to expedite economic progress both countries and individuals prudent use( borrow) OPM (Other People Money). Of course, wealthy companies, etc also borrow, ie, Nikki, etc. Nonetheless, the options for the BVI are 1) it can pay as you go. But how long will that take ? A long time and competitors will get farther down economic growth and development road, or 2) it can prudently borrow. The VI has a very low debt to GDP ratio. The experts metric for developing countries prudent debt to GDP ratio is approximately 40-50%. The VI is well below that number; therefore, it has the capacity and capability to prudently borrow. The pay as you option will keep the VI as a little sleepy hollow, trailing its competitors. Let’s prudently take some sensible risks, should we not?

      Several decades ago most Virgin Islanders saved to build their homes.Today those who qualify for loans borrow to build their homes, getting in and enjoying their homes much, much faster.
      • RealPol (21/12/2023, 21:14) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        To GateKeeper, good vigilate action. Nonetheless, this alleged approx $500M delta between the BVI and Bermuda and Cayman Islands Operations and Maintenance and Capital budgets. All three share some commonalities, ie, small, ie, VI ( 59 sq mi), Bermuda( 21 sq mi) and Cayman Islands ( ~102 sq mi), resource-poor with no precious metals, minerals, oil, etc, and similar service economies focused on tourism and financial service. So why do Bermuda and Cayman have $B budgets; BVI, approximately $500M? Is is that they are differentiating themselves from the BVI with the same economic sectors?

        You mention the 5 Whys so let’s give the old college try. Bermuda and Cayman have larger budgets.
        1. Why
        A. Because Bermuda and Cayman have better economic planners
        2. Why Bermuda and Cayman have better planners?
        A. They are more forward looking.
        3. Why are they more forward looking?
        A. They invest in the education and training in their economic planners
        4. Why is investing in the education and training of their planners important?
        A. To maximize revenue streams?
        5. Why is maximizing revenue streams important
        A. To generate the revenue needed to deliver goods and services to the public.

        Clearly, this is just an imaginary exercise that demonstrate the process to getting to the root cause of issues. The process don’t have to stop at 5 iterations.
        • @realpol (22/12/2023, 09:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
          To RealPol, so what is the root cause of the VI plain vanilla, sluggish economy? It seems as if the Bermudians and Cayman Islanders are getting much more than than Virgin Islanders from the same economic sectors and customer base? Why, why, why, why why?
      • @GateKeeper (22/12/2023, 06:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        To GateKeeper, OPM (Otger People Money, we have to pay high interest to use OPM, do we not? Nevertheless, I got your point on tge need to borrow to improve and grow our physical and social infrastructure. I endorsed tge concept of prudent, prudent, prudent borrowing. However, borrowing done, government and the people must get value for money. The electorate must get more actively engaged, employing our true power. The true power lies with tge people. Somebody told you wrong if told otherwise. Let’s leverage prudent borrowing to move the development needle.
  • wasted money (21/12/2023, 10:11) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Between the Government Payroll, Rent, NHI and wasted water, about $300 Million is gone. That’s partly why we see very little progress.
  • clarification (21/12/2023, 10:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The $200,000 is for the running of the Opposition as an entity, not for individual members of the Opposition.
  • confused (21/12/2023, 19:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    How did we go from $399 Million to $483 Million after 2 days worth of deliberations? We pulling money from thin air or was a lot of information missed?

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