KINGSTON – Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, tabled the Second Supplementary Estimates in the House of Representatives Tuesday March 15, shaving approximately $6 billion off the old budget.
The cuts have reduced the 2010/11 budget from $503.7 billion to $497.3 billion. In the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service some $3 billion were cut from public debt charges/interest payments, plus $1.2 billion from other housekeeping expenses.
The Ministry of Education had its recurrent budget reduced by $1 billion, mainly due to revised requirements from the redistribution of teachers’ salaries. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) saved some $620 million from the E-learning project and over $300 million from Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) activities.
On the positive side, OPM got $500 million from Property Tax collected by the Ministry of Finance to help the KSAC and Parish Councils meet street light bills; the Ministry of National Security received over $400 million to meet outstanding water and light bills owed by the police and the military, including police stations; the Ministry of Health also received over $400 million to pay outstanding utilities bills at hospitals and clinics; the Legal Aid Council got an addition $28 million to pay off some outstanding legal fees for persons unable to afford their own lawyers; and the Citrus Company of Jamaica received $28.5 to refurbish their processing facilities in St. Catherine.
These Estimates are the final for 2010/2011, as the Government prepares to table the 2011/12 budget early in April. It is anticipated that the new budget will include more tax reform measures, as well as incentives to boost production and create more jobs. The cuts in the Supplementary Estimates, especially in the Ministry of Education, are likely to be restored in the new budget.
BY: BALFORD HENRY, JIS Editor & Reporter