Given that the next General Election is due in 2015, most commentators predicted that the 2014/15 fiscal budget would contain the usual giveaways.
Indeed, the measures announced include a 20% increase in the minimum wage to TTD15 per hour, higher social welfare spending, and a tax amnesty among others. However, a 32% narrower fiscal deficit of 2.3% of GDP at TTD4.313 billion is budgeted for FY2014/15, compared to the TTD6.357 billion or 3.6% of GDP which was planned for FY2013/14. Also, the level of expenditure budgeted for FY2014/15 is marginally lower than the level now estimated for FY2013/14 -not characteristic of an “election budget”. This in itself warrants praise, and represents a major departure from the unfortunate norm.