Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Premier Speaks on 2008 Revenue Projection

Hon. Ralph T. O’ Neal, Premier and Minister of Finance, admitted BVI Government's inability to comply with the revenue project made for the year 2008, notwithstanding the encouraging first quarter in the major sectors of the territory's economy. Responding to questions of the Leader of the Opposition Dr. Orlando Smith during the last sitting of the House of Assembly on whether Government has met its revenue projections for 2008, he said that, because of the global financial crisis, up to December 15 the Government had collected just $267,327,438, while the planned revenue was $284,605,000. By his words, the Government also expected a year end closing revenue between $270M and $280M.

The Premier was also asked if the revenue projection 2008 was inclusive of the windfall from the IPOC fund judgement, when US$45M amount was confiscated by the BVI court after the 17 month investigating period of the disbursement between the Bermuda-based fund and the British Virgin Islands. The amount was reportedly split in half between the BVI and Bermuda, without the awareness of the BVI government.

The Premier made it clear that the figures for the revenue projection were not inclusive of the IPOC case. If added, the IPOC windfall will result in the government reaching or surpassing its revenue projection for the year 2008, and this amount is seen as a bonus not being part of government's projection in the 2008 budget.

Some months ago, the Premier had promised that government will launch a transparent investigation into the matter. In November, Hon. Ralph T. O’ Neal, said that he is awaiting the findings from the investigations into the disbursement.

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