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Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the Government’s 2019/20 programmed expenditure of $835.9 billion represents an inclusive Budget, geared towards improving the quality of life for all Jamaicans.

Details of the expenditure were outlined during the Minister presentation to open the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday (March 7).

“This Budget benefits everyone [and presents] economic opportunity for all,” Dr. Clarke said.

He was addressing journalists during a post-Budget press conference at the Finance Ministry in Kingston on Friday (March 8).

Among the major provisions are: a 25 per cent increase in social spending, from $16 billion to $20 billion; increased funding of nearly $2 billion for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs); increase in the annual general consumption tax (GCT) threshold; reduction in transfer tax payable on property and financial instruments; abolition of the minimum business tax; asset tax modification; stamp duty reform; modification of the student loan regime; and funding for research and development.

The Minister said the objective of the measures announced is to generate an uptick in economy activity that “will be of benefit to everyone.”

“This [is] a Budget in which everyone has something [to gain]. It is, genuinely, economic opportunity for all,” he emphasised.

He added that the crafting of the Budget is indicative of “what we can do in Jamaica with creativity… and what we can achieve with the set of resources that we have”.

He credited the collaboration and supportof various stakeholders, including the multilateral development partners, in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“So… with some amount of thought and planning, a good team and good partnerships, we can achieve a lot… and a lot more than we have become accustomed to,” Dr. Clarke said.