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Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the budget presented by the government seeks to lay the foundation for future growth and prosperity.

Dr. Phillips, while opening the 2012/13 budget debate in Gordon House on Thursday (May 24), said it is the intention of the government to reduce debt and maintain the gains that have been made in the country’s macro economy.

“We have taken the necessary steps to set the debt firmly on a downward trajectory and to maintain the gains, which have been achieved so far in terms of macroeconomic stability,” he stated.

The Minister said the administration has also maintained a low interest rate policy and ensured adequate reserve levels, and is committed to sustaining these gains by adhering to the strictest fiscal discipline as it seeks to contain expenditures, and to raise revenues.

He argued that this is “absolutely essential if Jamaica is to have a chance of achieving progress and creating adequate jobs for the thousands, who are added to the labour force on an annual basis”.

"The government’s commitment sets the stage for a new covenant for the future. The equitable approach to the new tax measures outlined requires every Jamaican to play their part and, consistent with our social responsibility, provides relief from some of the burdens borne by the most vulnerable in the society,” Dr. Phillips further pointed out.

In the meantime, the Finance Minister said once the Budget Debate concludes, the government would seek to initiate dialogue with the Jamaican people to “promote a better understanding of our present situation and the urgent need for a covenant that binds all of us to the objective of nation building”.

"Our experience during the preparation of the budget informs us that goodwill abounds and that there is a readiness within the society to re-energise the national project and build the new Jamaica as a land of innovation, discipline and prosperity,” he stated.

 

By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter