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  • JIS News

    Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, on Tuesday, April 7 tabled estimates for Government’s expenditure of $547.7 billion (net) during the fiscal year, 2009/2010, in the House of Representatives.
    The proposed expenditures add up to a gross of $550.8 billion over the 12 months but, reduced by $3.1 billion in savings or appropriations in aid (daily revenues), it ends up at $547.7 billion, approximately $40 billion more than the $508 billion spent in 2008/09.
    The bulk of the allocations, as usual, goes to debt repayments and public sector salaries but, as promised in Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s broadcast to the nation on Sunday, despite the impact of the global economic crisis and the need to cut back on spending, the Government has kept spending levels on basic social matters like crime, education and health on par with last year’s figure, and added some major capital programmes aimed at a number of social challenges.
    In the Ministry of National Security, while Capital A expenditure was cut significantly, from $2 billion to $500 million, mainly due to a huge cut in expenditure on repair and maintenance of police stations, there was a massive increase in the Capital B budget, which is funded by bilateral/multilateral agreements, from $795.8 million to $1.6 billion.
    This is the largest Capital B budget for the Ministry since the administration took office in 2007, and includes massive spending on programmes like: the USAID supported project, Improving Governance Through Citizen Security and Participation; the IDB- backed Citizens Security and Justice Project (CSJP); the Jamaica Violence Prevention and Sustainable Development Programme, supported by the UNDP; and the USAID-assisted Community Empowerment and Transformation project.
    In the Ministry of Education, the recurrent expenditures reflect increased spending on primary and secondary education, as well as for students’ nutrition.
    There was only a slight increase in the Capital A budget in this Ministry, but in the Capital B budget there is a $159 million World Bank financed Early Childhood Development Project, to improve the monitoring of children’s development, enhance the quality of early childhood schools and care facilities and strengthen early childhood organisations and institutions.
    The MInistry will also be working with the IDB on a $580 million Youth Development Programme, which includes expanding and strengthening the National Youth Service (NYS).
    In the Ministry of Health, the recurrent estimates show increased allocations for: Health Promotion and Protection, a national strategy to address priority health problems, including HIV/STD, hypertension and diabetes; and the National Council on Drug Abuse.
    There are huge increases in the Capital A budget to cover improvements in the provision of health services at the Government’s 23 hospitals, over 350 health centres and specialised institutions, islandwide, as well.
    The estimates will now be referred to the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, comprised of all Members of Parliament, which will meet April 14-16.

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