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Gov’t to table 2nd supplementary budget today

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Gov’t to table 2nd supplementary budget today

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

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The House of Representatives will resume sitting today, following the Christmas break. However, the focus of the meeting will be on the second supplementary estimates, and not crime.

There was no indication from either Gordon House or Jamaica House that Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips will speak on their two-hour-long meeting last night at Vale Royal.

Asked last night whether this would be included in the agenda for today’s meeting, Leader of the House Karl Samuda said that he was not aware of a statement to be made by the prime minister. He confirmed that the main issue would be the tabling of the second supplementary estimates for 2018/19 by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke.

The first supplementary estimates were tabled on October 2 last year by Dr Clarke, a week after tabling the Fiscal Policy Paper Interim Report within the specified six months after passage of the Appropriation Act for 2018/19, as required under the Fiscal Responsibility Framework.

Dr Clarke noted then that the central government budget for 2018/19 was formulated around the achievement of the Precautionary Stand-by Agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The agreement targeted primary surplus of seven per cent of GDP, as well as the overarching policy priority of national security and the articulated position of the Government, that there would be no new tax measures.

The budget emanating from these imperatives, Dr Clarke said, reflected an expected revenue flow of $590.6 billion plus programmed loan receipts of $103.2 billion alongside expenditure and payments making up an expenditure budget of $773.7 billion.

However, he noted that over the fiscal year to then, a number of critical expenditure pressures had emerged necessitating a revision of the 2018/19 budget, resulting in net additional expenditure of $17.4 billion in the first supplementary estimates.

That supplementary budget included: $7.14 billion for outstanding debt owed to the Jamaica Public Service Company; $2.5 billion to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company for operational and other improvements; $7.3 billion for the Major Infrastructure Development Programme; $2.4 billion for travelling allowances/mileage for government travelling officers; and approximately $660 million for the first phase of the programme to remove deceased persons’ names from the voters’ list.

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