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  • Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the Jamaican people, noting that the increase in the 2015/16 Budget is to ensure that “all obligations we entered into will be fulfilled.”
  • Dr. Phillips said the Government continues to acknowledge the sacrifices and commitments made by public and private sector stakeholders, at all levels, to ensure the successful implementation of Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP).
  • In this regard, he said, civil servants can “rest assured” that the Administration will be negotiating “reasonable” wage agreements with them.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the Jamaican people, noting that the increase in the 2015/16 Budget is to ensure that “all obligations we entered into will be fulfilled.”

Dr. Phillips said the Government continues to acknowledge the sacrifices and commitments made by public and private sector stakeholders, at all levels, to ensure the successful implementation of Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP).

In this regard, he said, civil servants can “rest assured” that the Administration will be negotiating “reasonable” wage agreements with them. Further, that the administration remains steadfast in its undertaking to reduce the debt, which he projects will fall to 130 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by March 2016.

The Minister was making his presentation at the opening of the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on March 12, under the theme: ‘Strong Foundations for Growth and the Expansion of Opportunities’.

The Finance Minister said the Government is also intent on fulfilling its obligations to: reducing the Budget deficit; and further reducing the current account deficit to 2.3 per cent during the 2015/16 fiscal year.

“Despite the difficult circumstances of the reform, we have (also) made provisions in this year’s Budget to continue to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in the society (by expanding) the social budget to $4 billion, including both the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), and the Primary School Feeding Programme,” Dr. Phillips said.

Other notable provisions, the Finance Minister highlighted, include: $8 billion allocated to the health budget, “to ensure that the social gains made in the past, can be sustained;” and $3 billion for major road infrastructure development.

The total Central Government expenditure for 2015/16 is $641.5 billion.