Video: Post Budget Press Conference

February 24, 2020 | 13 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson is holding a post Budget press conference this afternoon [Feb 24], and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

The 18-minute live video replay is below:

Update 4.50pm: Minister Dickinson’s remarks:

Good Afternoon and thank you for joining me here today.

Last Friday I delivered the budget statement for the fiscal year 2020 – 2021. A budget that was designed to provide relief to those people that need it the most as well as get the economy moving.

The best ways to get the economy moving is by increasing employment, and also ensuring that people have more money available to spend.

This budget aims to create an environment for growth that will increase economic activity while striking the correct balance between fiscal and social responsibility.

The headline numbers for the 2019/20 National Budget are: a revenue target of $1.122 billion; total spending of $1.141 billion; which includes current expenditure excluding debt service of $935.6 million; debt service of $121.4 million; capital expenditure of $80.0 million; and a projected deficit of $19.8.

  • Revenues are forecast to rise by a modest 0.3% or $3.7 million
  • There are modest tax adjustments – Transport Infrastructure Tax on cruise ship passengers and an across the board 5% increase in immigration fees.
  • We are providing payroll tax relief to lower paid workers; this will put money into the pockets of 75% of the employees in Bermuda
  • Also there is payroll tax relief for small and medium-sized businesses to allow them to expand their employee base.
  • To assist with job creation we are also extending the payroll tax relief incentive for job creation to employers with a payroll of over $500,000
  • To enhance efficiency we will be expanding the Taxi Industry Payroll tax scheme to all persons with public service vehicles.
  • We will also be assisting the retail sector with further duty relief and amending the process for duty deferrals.
  • Finally there will be no biennial fee increases to shelter persons from further cost of living increases

The National Budget allocates $1.141 billion in total spending over the next 12 months, representing a $30.9 million or 2.8% increase over the 2019/20 original estimates.

  • There is a modest increase in Current account spending of $5.7 million or 0.6% – no increase in spending in real terms.
  • There will be a $20.3 million increase in capital funding to maintain our infrastructure after years of underinvestment
  • Debt Service cost of $121.4 million – The increase in debt service is mainly due to borrowing for Caroline Bay
  • The current account balance, before interest on debt and capital expenditure, is budgeted to be a surplus of $186.6 million.
  • The Government plans to run a budget deficit of $19.8 million.
  • This deficit will be funded with long-term borrowing.
  • Borrowing is in line with one of our fiscal rules that net borrowing can only be considered to finance capital spending.
  • New debt to stand at $2.678 billion
  • This is still at an unsustainable level so we must keep our fiscal discipline while at the same time helping our people. – Striking the correct balance.

We have re-introduced Zero Based Budgeting to assist with cost containment. This has assisted the Ministries and Government with policy prioritisation during the budget process.

Additionally, this budget provides enhanced and expanded services for the vulnerable.

  • Ministry of Legal Affairs – funding for operational programmes for young people too old for children’s facilities and increased grant funding;
  • Ministry of Health – funding for community mental health programmes and increased grant funding; and
  • Ministry of Education – funding for enhanced student behaviour management services, educational therapists and counselling services.

We have increased investments in education and training:

  • The Bermuda College will continue to receive a special $250,000 grant to assist students with financial need to ensure that no student is prohibited from attending Bermuda College as a result of limited household incomes.
  • $2.1 million in the fiscal year 2019/20 for the funding of initiatives that support the execution of Plan 2022
  • Workforce Development has increased their scholarship budget from $100,000 to $450,000 and iincreased their budget for apprenticeships by $25,000 to $420,000

This has been a much needed increase in capital spending to revitalize the country’s infrastructure, support growth, create jobs, and improve our quality of life.

  • Upgrading the Parliament Building and relocating the courts [$3.2 million],
  • Major building upgrades [$3.1 million], schools’ maintenance [$3.0 million]
  • Road works [$2.8 million].
  • Capital acquisition provision of $24.9 million.
  • IT developments across government [$9.1 million]
  • New public buses [$4.4 million]
  • Ferries [$2.0 million]

This budget also provides information on how government is seeking to reduce the cost of living by:

  • Providing mortgage relief for families with the creation of a mortgage guarantee programme
  • Healthcare Reform to reduce premiums
  • Tackling electricity cost [LED bulb exchange programme]
  • Supporting start-up cooperatives who are looking to supply foods at lower prices

I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance staff for their stellar work on helping to put together this budget.

It is a fiscally prudent budget. One that will ensure that all Bermudians benefit while we grow Bermuda’s economy.

Thank you.

click here Bermuda 2020 budget

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Comments (13)

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  1. cow polly says:

    so the FinMin admits we need more people …

  2. sandgrownan says:

    “The best ways to get the economy moving is by increasing employment, and also ensuring that people have more money available to spend.

    This budget aims to create an environment for growth that will increase economic activity”

    Yes, of course it is, but you need to create demand for goods & services to create liquidity in the local economy. There isn’t enough liquidity, because there isn’t demand,because Bermuda’s population is falling below where it needs to be to support the Island. The tax base is diverging from the cost of Government. It’s simple mathematics, and this is the direct result of PLP policies going back 20 years.

    But of course you know that Curtis, because you’re not an idiot. So do something about it beyond bland “meh” budgets that do nothing.

  3. Ringmasterr says:

    It is clear Minister Dickinson is an intelligent person, but some of his comments and the details in the budget belie common sense. He should realize he is being made to look stupid by the Cabinet. He deserves better. Save his reputation and resign from the PLP. He can only go down hill and lose respect and his own self esteem if he continues.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      So what’s his motivation then? Right now he’s just peddling usual PLP bull^&%$ smoke and mirrors and has presented a nothing budget. It’s nothing more than a holding pattern until ultimate failure.

    • Voter says:

      Actually it’s more clear that the opposition leader is only a surrogate. If you can’t see that I have a bridge to sell you. Bermuda talks and you refuse to listen.

    • Advice says:

      The new Paula “the cog” Cox

    • Islandass says:

      Agreed. His whole demeanor is different. All of a sudden he looks more like “ a cog in the wheel.” He deserves better.

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    “We have re-introduced Zero Based Budgeting to assist with cost containment.”

    Would that be the same plan you vilified Bob Richards for introducing by any chance?

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