The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government generated a US$77.3m operating surplus for the financial year ending 31 March 2015 it announced today, Wednesday, 13 May 2015.
The surplus further consolidates the Islands’ position as one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean region, with a 16% increase in recurrent revenue for the year to $246.5m.
The performance was built on record breaking visitor numbers to the TCI, and improved tax collection by both the Customs and the Revenue Control Unit.
Import duty was the single largest source of government income accounting for $61.6m of its revenue. Hotel and tourism tax contributed $51.8m; Customs Processing Fees $28.6m; Stamp Duty $25.8m; work permits and residency fees $17.6m; fuel tax $8.6m.
Government recurrent expenditure was also controlled at $161.9m, 7% below the projected spend for the period. In recognition of the 2014-15 underspend, $6m has been carried over to the new financial year to be spent mainly on infrastructure projects.
“This positive financial performance has allowed the government to increase our spending in key areas of social development, with a 32.7% budget increase this year for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning, and a 27% increase for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Library Services,” said Minister of Finance Washington Misick.
“We will continue to work hard to build sustainable sources of revenue, generate surpluses, maintain public spending and reduce our debts.”
The TCI is in discussions with a number of financial institutions as it prepares to refinance a UK-guaranteed $170m bond when it matures in February 2016. The TCI intends to issue invitations to tender for this requirement in the autumn of 2015. It is the TCI’s intention to use the $110m already held in reserve in the Sinking Fund, plus an additional contribution from the first half this financial year 2015-16 to repay most of the bond, with the balance being covered by new bank debt or a bond issue.