JIS News

The House of Representatives, yesterday (March 18), approved the Second Supplementary Estimates, increasing the 2007/08 fiscal budget by $2.4 billion.
This was done after Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, moved a Resolution outlining the Government’s revised spending targets for the fiscal year ending March 31.
The Estimates show an increase in the total budget, which moves from $402.8 billion to $405.2 billion. Total recurrent expenditure increases from
$252.8 billion to $254.6 billion and capital expenditure moves from
$150.07 billion to $150.6 billion.
Mr. Shaw explained that the revised budget represents a “tidying up where the government had to take on board additional interest charges and also certain increases in programmes, some of which were actually anticipated in the contingency allocation and the contingency allocations were transferred to the various heads.”
“On public debt, we had to take on board an additional $322.2 million interest on loans from commercial banks as a result of payment on deferred financing obligations, and $337 million for an increased provision for payments on the debts that have been taken over for the Sugar Company of Jamaica,” Mr. Shaw explained.
“There was an amount of $1.999 billion that, in fact, was on the original budget for 2007/08, but was inadvertently left off the supplementary estimates. This is putting it back unto the budget,” he added.
In terms of the main areas of increase, Mr. Shaw said the Office of the Prime Minister (local government department) has received $249 million to provide for $146.9 million statutory deduction arrears to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for the period 1997-2005 and an amount of $102.1 million for salaries for Mayors and Councillors.
“In terms of reduction, one was a transfer from the contingency amount of over a $1 billion. Some $500 million was for food subsidy; $338 million for additional grant to Air Jamaica; $126 million for motor vehicle loans to public officers; $36 million repayment to the Development Bank of Jamaica for advances made for hurricane Dean,” Mr. Shaw informed.
The Minister also got the approval of the Lower House for an additional $62 billion to carry on running the country until the end of the financial year on March 31.

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