Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chair, Richard Byles, is optimistic that the Government will be able to achieve the $120.7 billion primary surplus balance target for the January to March quarter...
  • He said the Finance Ministry has also indicated that expenditure on programmes, which was over budget by $2.3 billion in January, was reduced in February.
  • Grants fell behind budget by $3.2 billion, while bauxite levy inflows were $2 billion below target.

Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chair, Richard Byles, is optimistic that the Government will be able to achieve the $120.7 billion primary surplus balance target for the January to March quarter under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This, he said, is despite a $1.6 billion shortfall in the $71 billion budgeted for the fiscal period up to January, due mainly to a $1 billion shortfall in total revenues.

The $71 billion reflects the 0.25 percent downward adjustment in the primary surplus, which was agreed on by the Government and IMF.

Mr. Byles, who was addressing EPOC’s monthly media briefing at Sagicor’s New Kingston offices on Tuesday (March 15), said he expects that tax revenues, particularly corporate taxes, which come in at the end of this week, “will carry us across the (primary surplus target) line.”

He said the Finance Ministry has also indicated that expenditure on programmes, which was over budget by $2.3 billion in January, was reduced in February.

“So, while we are a little behind on the primary surplus…I don’t think…that need worry us too much. I expect that the difference between…the actual and budgeted figure will not be a problem for us and, come February, we should see that disappear,” he said.

Total revenues and grants for the first 10 months of the fiscal year were $970 million or 0.3 percent behind budget.

Tax inflows continue to be strong, coming in at $3.8 billion or 1.2 percent ahead of target at the end of January.

The best performing categories were: tax on interest, which was $2.6 billion above budget; company tax – $2 billion ahead of target; Special Consumption Tax (SCT) – up $1.6 billion; and General Consumption Tax (GCT) – up $1 billion.

The main underperforming categories were: Customs duty, $1.1 billion below target; tax on dividends – down $900 million; and telephone tax – down $600 million.

Grants fell behind budget by $3.2 billion, while bauxite levy inflows were $2 billion below target.