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Jamaica adds $60 billion to 2022/23 budget

By Latonya Linton

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The government will be increasing budgetary spending by approximately $60 billion during the current 2022/23 fiscal year. The details are contained in the first supplementary estimates of expenditure, tabled by minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 8.

Parliament had previously approved a budget of $912 billion for the 2022/23 fiscal year. Dr Clarke explained that the Supplementary Budget reflects amounts provided to cushion the impact of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict on vulnerable Jamaicans. The increase results in a proposed revised budget of $972.0 billion.

This includes expenditure of $2.2 billion under the Energy Co-Pay initiative.

The government contributed 20 percent of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) bill for April to July of 2022, for all post-paid households that consumed 200 kilowatts of electricity or less, and $3,000 per month over the same period for prepaid residential customers.

Dr Clarke further cited the gas-relief grant to owners of contract carriage and route taxi vehicles amounting to $600 million and $200 million in loans accessible through microfinance institutions under an on-lending facility managed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).

Dr Clarke said disbursement under the gas relief and loan facility is ongoing.

He informed that subsequent to the approval of the 2022/23 Budget, additional measures were announced including back-to-school grants valued at $1.2 billion.

The supplementary estimates also include $21.1 billion for employees under the compensation review programme.

“This arises primarily from discussions with public-sector unions and staff associations in respect of the compensation restructuring programme for implementation during the fiscal year,” Dr Clarke told the House.

There are also increased allocations to ministries and entities. This includes $5.1 billion to the ministry of economic growth and job creation; $3.6 billion to the ministry of health and wellness to support the payment of arrears for goods and services and procurement of drugs and medical supplies; and $6 billion to the ministry of national security, with $1.5 billion for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), $3.3 billion for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and $862 million for the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has been allocated $1.1 billion towards the company’s fuel cost and other operating expenses and the ministry of education and youth has received an allocation of $2.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the finance and the public service minister said that the $60 billion in additional expenditure will be financed primarily through an expected $65.5-billion increase in revenue flows.

At the end of September 2022, total revenues were $40.4 billion above budget, including $35 billion from tax revenue.

Dr Clarke said this improved performance has been factored into the current economic forecast, which now anticipates total revenue flows of $815.5 billion for the current 2022/23 fiscal year.



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