As part of its annual estimates for the year 2022, the Premier will detail the government's monetary plans and announce big decisions on how his administration will spend the people's money.
Some of the key focus areas will include but are not limited to tourism, ports, education, healthcare, utilities, infrastructure, border and law enforcement, the financial services sector, social services, disaster management, and E-Governance.
The Premier is also expected to announce innovative new economic drivers outside of the main economic pillars, that can complement the local economy in the era of COVID-19 and generate additional income.
According to the Order Paper for this morning’s sitting, which is the Thirteenth Sitting of the Third Session of The Fourth House of Assembly scheduled to start at 10:00 am, the Premier will move motions for both the first and second reading of the Appropriation (2022) Act, 2021 ahead of his usually detailed budget address.
After the historic address, which will be the fourth budget in less than 3 years for the Fahle-led Virgin Islands Party Administration, the Premier and Minister of Finance will move another motion that the debate on the merits and principles of the Bill be deferred until a later date.
On the same day, a final motion will be moved so that the Annual Estimates for the year 2022 can be referred to the Standing Finance Committee in accordance with Standing Order 67, and then the HoA will move into Private Members Business and Other Business before an adjournment.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has proposed an allocation of $2M to address some of the immediate issues plaguing public schools.
Teachers have been staging protests in the form of a sickout, and the money requested is expected to address some of the longstanding issues, including that of mold, dilapidated classrooms, and poor educational facilities that have existed since the Hurricanes of 2017.
The latest budget is also expected to cater to the territory’s ongoing COVID-19 strategy, given the 2021 budget had to be re-adjusted as a result of unbudgeted pandemic expenses.
Meanwhile, today’s sitting and Budget Address will be live-streamed on the House of Assembly’s YouTube page, Facebook, ZBVI 780 AM, CBN 90.9 FM and Flow TV – Channel 101.