JIS News

Minister of Finance and Public Service, Audley Shaw, has said that the government has decided to transfer $2.8 billion from the Universal Access Fund (UAF) to the Consolidated Fund, to help clear $15.4 billion in non-budgeted debts inherited from the previous administration.
This was disclosed by the Minister during a statement in the House of Representatives on (Oct. 9) at Gordon House.
In addition to the transfer of the UAF, Mr. Shaw informed that the government would also postpone construction of the Montego Bay Conference Centre until next April saving $700 million, and delaying the implementation of Capital B projects, saving a further $800 million.
Mr. Shaw informed that even though construction of the Montego Bay Conference Centre will be postponed, the government will still be signing the agreement with the Chinese Government for the project.
Other measures to deal with the “unexpected overhang,” Mr. Shaw said, include the freezing of all non-charitable tax waivers for the rest of the fiscal year to save $600 million and the transfer of all interest accrued on Government of Jamaica deposits to the Consolidated Fund by March 31, 2007, to generate $400 million.
He said the government will be utilizing other revenue enhancing measures, including a more vigorous tax enhancement drive.
“The options identified are projected to contribute $8.3 billion in revenues and reduce expenditure by $1.5 billion. With these measures, it is projected that the deficit outturn will be slightly above five per cent of Gross Domestic Product,” the Finance Minister told the House.
Since September 2007, a number of factors have impacted the previously estimated outturn for the fiscal year, including the passage of Hurricane Dean, and movements of the interest and exchange rates.”In addition, we have identified several items of non discretionary expenditure that were clearly not budgeted for this fiscal year. Among these items are hospital fee exemptions of $560 million,” Mr. Shaw said.
Other expenditure, he said, included University of the West Indies salary arrears, pension backlog, a shortfall on teachers’ salaries, increased allowances and wage settlements, higher-than-budgeted salaries, and the Lift up Jamaica Programme.