Government is now boasting of collecting on average EC$40 million per month in tax revenue.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine, made the disclosure on Tuesday at a post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial complex that was attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
According to Antoine, government has seen an improvement in revenue intake every month for the first four months of 2014 when compared to last year when the average monthly figure was $35 million.
He said both the Customs Department and Inland Revenue offices have been able to meet their targets.
He added that very encouraging progress has been made in the first four months of the year in closing the fiscal gap between what is collected every month and what is spent by the State in terms of expenditure.
“Most of the tax types have performed better – obviously the leading one is the personal income tax. We’ve also seen improvement in collection and Property tax, we’ve seen improvements in terms of certain service charge,” he said.
Antoine stated that the Ministry of Finance is making sure that everyone is making their contribution to the national coffers and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) in particular is seeing to it that all those who ought to pay do comply.
The PS Finance pointed out that the ministry has been keeping a tight reign on expenditure but the number one problem still remains the salaries to public officers.
“The main thing obviously is the management of the payroll, which is key in ensuring that the payroll does not increase any further and we’ve also continue to press on the non-personal expenditure side”, he said.
Stating that the target of government is to reduce non-personal expenditure by at least 20%, Antoine said that progress is being made on reducing the costs on telecommunications, electricity, water, and fuel among others.
He disclosed that the installation of the GPS system in government vehicles, although not fully completed, has been a positive in terms of cutting cost for the State.
“Remember those devices can track the vehicle, it can disable a vehicle if it is in the wrong place at the wrong time, not doing government business”, he said.
“…We put everyone on notice, this is what it’s intended to do, when we pilot it last year in the Ministry of Finance, in the very first month, we saved 24% on fuel so we know for a fact that this is an investment that will save government money and we’re committed to doing that,” he added.
Antoine also provided figures to show that Mobile Telecommunications has been down by 40% and official travel by approximately 50%.
In addition, he said the Ministry of Finance is tackling electricity in the form of a competition called “The biggest loser is the biggest winner.”
“We have the five buildings in the Financial Complex and every month we checking to see who have saved the most, who have reduced their consumption the most and the person who has reduced the most is the winner, so the biggest loser is the biggest winner,” he said.
“We did the first pilot last month (April) and now competitive juices are flowing, we’re beginning to see some real intensity and so on insisting that lights be taken off and things be done properly, computers be switched off, transformers and so on”.