The 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure will be tabled in the House of Representatives on May 10, Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, disclosed on April 4, at the Jamaica House press briefing, held at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The decision was made at the recently concluded two-day Cabinet retreat, where Ministers considered the medium term economic programme, in light of the current economic situation, and ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Miss Falconer noted that Cabinet had also received reports from the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter; Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes; and Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson.
“Cabinet agreed on the basic budgetary parameters for the 2012/13 financial year. In this regard, it was agreed that priority should be placed on reducing the county’s debt, as measured by the debt to GDP ratio, and securing increased growth and employment,” she said.
The Minister said Cabinet also considered a range of development projects in the tourism, information technology, and agricultural sectors. “During the discussions, Cabinet emphasised its commitment to the protection of vulnerable Jamaicans, even as we pursue the difficult and challenging task of bringing the fiscal account into balance,” she told journalists.
Additionally, Cabinet received a report on the progress of discussions with public sector unions regarding agreements over the medium term. “It underscored that the successful conclusion of these discussions is essential to the settlement of any medium term economic programme, to get Jamaica out of its present difficulties,” Senator Falconer said.
Before the Estimates are tabled, the Governor General will deliver the Throne Speech the same day, signalling the beginning of the new fiscal year. Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, will open the Budget Debate on May 24.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter