JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding says Government is at an advanced stage in recasting the 2009/2010 budget; and that there are going to be significant expenditure cuts.
As part of the effort, the Prime Minister has given all Permanent Secretaries one week to comb through their budgets to determine how to effect these cuts. Mr. Golding said that as Managers, they know the workings of their ministries and the programmes which can be downscaled as well as those which are vital to maintain service delivery.
The Prime Minister explained that he has made it very clear to the Permanent Secretaries, the extent to which the cuts can be made. On the recurrent side of the budget, which is where the bulk of the expenditure is, $125 billion must be set aside for public sector wages, including current wages and retroactive payments, Mr. Golding said.
“We have to pay this and we have tried to convey to public sector workers the calamity that would result if they insist on additional increases for this year. We have tried to impress upon them that the country will not be in any shape to embark upon negotiations toward any increases for the period beginning April next year. There is a compromise that has to be reached. We are not going to cut public sector jobs, but to hold the jobs as they are. I have appealed to public sector workers to be reasonable as it will be impossible for Government to find additional resources to make any increases available,” he pointed out.
Mr. Golding said all that is left in the budget is the money that is provided for programmes, which amount to $84billion and from that he wants a 20 per cent reduction. “Within that overall figure we have to try to protect the areas of priority …education, security, health services, and the social safety net. So, this gives an idea of the extent to the cuts that are to be made. It’s a difficult task but those are the hard choices that we have to make,” he noted.
Mr. Golding was speaking at the official opening of the Scotiabank Group Financial Centre on Constant spring Road in Kingston, yesterday (August 20). Scotiabank Jamaica has been a premier financial institution in Jamaica for 120 years. The centre is now home to Scotia private client group, the offices of Scotia DBG Investments and Scotia Insurance.

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