The Government has cut the 2010/11 budget by $262 million, but added provisions to meet outstanding payments to public sector workers, repair damage created by Tropical Storm Nicole and purchase 100 new buses for the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA).
The First Supplementary Estimates, tabled in the House of Representatives, Tuesday (November 30), by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, revealed a cut of $262.1 million in the allocations to finance government’s operations up to March 31, next year.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon Mike Henry welcomes a previous shipment of new buses from Belgium.
This is the result of $2 billion being carved from the Recurrent Budget, which covers pay and housekeeping expenditures in the public sector, mainly through under-expenditure; while just over $1.7 billion have been added to the capital budget to pay for new projects.
The Ministry of Transport and Works is the main beneficiary of increased funding, unlike in previous years when the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service gobbled up the bulk of the increases for debt payments, thanks to the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDI).
Transport and Works Minister, the Hon Mike Henry, gets his chance to roll out a much improved Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) in the KMA, with an allocation of $2 billion for 100 new buses expected in the island early in the New Year. The Ministry also received $1.5 billion more for drainage works in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA); $700 million for the Bogue Road rehabilitation which includes expansion and dualization; and $280 million for the much anticipated Jamaica Development infrastructure Programme’s (JDIP).
Capital “A” expenditure, which covers Government-financed projects, jumped from $133 billion to $135.3 billion, while Capital “B” expenditure, which is supported by bilateral and multilateral agreements, fell from $27 billion to $26.4 billion, overall increasing the Capital Budget from $160 billion to $161.8 billion. Recurrent funding was, however, slashed from $344 billion to $342 billion, including $1.4 billion in savings or under-expenditure since April.
The budget, which started out at $503, 970,451 should, therefore, fall to $503,708,325, when approved by the House next week, unless there are further alterations. It could stay that way for the rest of 2010/11, unless a Second Supplementary Estimates is tabled early in 2011.
Over $1 billion were added to respond to damage created by Tropical Storm Nicole, including: $231 million for removal of silt and debris from critical storm drains; $19.5 million for damaged police stations; $120 million to repair schools; and $100 million to repair hospitals and clinics.
The Ministry of Transport and Works will also be responsible for: $200 million for gully cleaning, $100 million for urban road improvements and $88 million for bridge development and construction. The Ministry of Water and Housing will receive $50 million to facilitate relocation of persons impacted by the storm.
The Ministry of National Security got an additional $334 million to repair police stations, including those affected the May violence in West Kingston, plus $109 million to purchase more vehicles for the police.
The Ministry of Health received $600 million to repair and upgrade Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment used in public hospitals.
The Ministry of Tourism got $430 million more for advertising and overseas promotions.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has also benefited with $182 million for resuscitation of livestock and crops hurt by Tropical Storm Nicole.
On the recurrent side, $1.5 billion was added to make outstanding payment to teachers, $1.4 billion for nurses and other health sector workers, $295 million for overtime payment to customs officers, $109 million for firemen and $77 million for correctional officers’ outstanding allowances, and some $500 million for arrears in salaries, allowances and fuel purchases to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).