The Government of Saint Lucia hosted a two-day financial workshop for over sixty (60) officers involved in the budget preparation. The workshop which was held from February 14-15 and conducted by Ernst and Young (Caribbean) was a follow up to a forum that was held a week before which allowed ministries an opportunity to present their budgets for consideration to the Minister for Finance.
The workshop sought to:
The performance based approach is particularly important to governments given resource constraints and an economic climate that places greater demands on shrinking resources. With reduced tax revenues, soaring deficits and deepening national debt, governments must explore ways to align resources towards projects and policies that achieve the optimum outcomes.
Director of Finance, Cointha Thomas, stated that the forum revealed a few inadequacies and identified areas where improvement was needed to deal with the government's financial challenges. The workshop on the other hand, provided clarity on the government's strategic direction and how the ministries plan to achieve the set strategic goals.
Senator Hon. Ubaldus Raymond, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, said budgets over the years have been rushed and lacking. This year's budget, he explained, will be one with a difference. He added that because Ernst and Young already had a working relationship with the government in the area of tax reform, it was only fitting that they continue to assist in the budgetary process.
Maria Daniel, a partner at Ernst and Young (Caribbean) said the focus of the two-day workshop is to enable the ministries to think differently about how they spend money. Daniel further explained that each dollar must be viewed differently in terms of its return investment.