Budget cut no threat to COVID-19 relief spending says finance minister

Finances minimize no risk to COVID-19 aid spending says finance minister

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior workers reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 28, 2021

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Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke says funds underneath one other spherical of the Authorities’s COVID-19 Allocation of Assets for Workers (CARE) Programme will proceed this 12 months.

“We have now expenditure that can be in our January cost for the CARE Programme and associated actions. So it isn’t that these actions have stopped,” Clarke stated as he responded to questions from Opposition Chief Mark Golding throughout the debate on the Third Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for the 2020/21 fiscal 12 months within the Home of Representatives on Tuesday.

“Funds are going out in January 2021. We can have funds in February. So it isn’t like these actions have stopped. What we’re confronted with right here with the third supplementary estimates is that the revenues for the fiscal 12 months ending March 31 are projected to be $8.6 billion under what was authorized within the second supplementary estimates,” defined Clarke.

He stated the risk is that the funds are being made in a context the place the Authorities is seeking to minimize the potential rise within the debt-to-gross home product (GDP) ratio this 12 months.

“So, our choices, in mild of a income decline of that magnitude, that happens on the similar time that we’ve got elevated expenditure calls for from the Ministry of Well being and Wellness and from the safety companies, implies that it’s going within the improper route,” stated Clarke.

He added that the Authorities has been cautious to not minimize any exercise that’s associated to social assist or associated programmes which are ongoing.

The finance minister identified that almost all of the areas which have seen cuts in expenditure plans for this fiscal 12 months are these which is not going to be happening. He pointed to the instance of the native authorities elections, which was scheduled for this fiscal 12 months. Parliament has voted to delay the election and Clarke famous that this might see a delayed spending of $940 million this 12 months.

“We have now navigated this disaster, we’ve got absorbed it, we’ve got been capable of reply, however the path forward goes to require a sure diploma of focus. The trail retains us on a monitor of stability, however it’s a very slender one due to the debt dynamics,” declared Clarke.

Spelling out the estimates, which would be the ultimate budgetary exercise earlier than the top of the fiscal 12 months, Clarke stated that the discount of $3.5 billion or 0.3 per cent of the earlier funds have continued within the non-debt expenditure, which displays reductions in recurrent expenditure of $2 billion, with $1.5 billion minimize from capital initiatives.

He stated that there was no changes within the public debt companies or “under the road” funds.

However Clarke famous that the pandemic has severely curtailed the flexibility of some ministries, departments and businesses of presidency to programme actions together with the recruitment of workers.

He stated that the Authorities can be looking for safe a bond to cowl the required funds.

However, the extent of the protection must rely on on ultimate negotiations with abroad sources and their parameters in addition to after they can kick in.

 

 

 

 

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