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  • The Government will continue to maintain strong fiscal discipline, as it seeks to grow the Jamaican economy out of debt.
  • Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, gave that assurance on February 25, at a press conference to announce the successful completion of the 7th quarterly review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under the four-year Extended Fund Facility programme.
  • The Minister reiterated the need for discipline by parliamentarians and public commentators as contributions are made to the budgetary process.

The Government will continue to maintain strong fiscal discipline, as it seeks to grow the Jamaican economy out of debt.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, gave that assurance on February 25, at a press conference to announce the successful completion of the 7th quarterly review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under the four-year Extended Fund Facility programme.

He was responding to a question about going off track with the Economic Reform Programme (ERP), if an election is held during the next fiscal year.

“There is still the need to maintain our overall commitment to be fiscally prudent, to spend within the available resources,” Dr. Phillips said.

“There is a limit to what can be spent in any single year, whether we have the debt overhang or we didn’t,” he emphasized.

Dr. Phillips said the recently tabled 2015/16 budget is one of the best indications of strong fiscal discipline by the Government.

“You will see that this budget contains no ‘fat’ in it, because the Government has a fundamental commitment to reversing the growth of the debt, which over many decades has been the major millstone on the necks of the Jamaican people, preventing the economy from realizing its full potential,” Dr. Phillips noted.

He said this continues to be the primary objective of the Government as it works to create the conditions for the country to experience the levels of growth that other countries are experiencing, as the world economy moves out of a recession.

Citing the significance of the tabling of the budget weeks before the end of the current fiscal year, Dr. Phillips said this is an excellent way for the public to scrutinize the spending and revenue measures of the Government and encourage transparency.

He also pointed to the expanding role of the Auditor General to include fiscal assessment in the budgetary process, in accordance with the new fiscal rules legislation.

“The auditor general’s department is being asked to give a pronouncement on the fiscal policy paper and report it directly to the Parliament,” Dr. Phillips explained.

The Minister reiterated the need for discipline by parliamentarians and public commentators as contributions are made to the budgetary process.

“All of this is going to require a much more mature disposition on the part of the parliament to have a discussion…and be more focused on the best interest of the country,” the Finance Minister said.