Minister of Finance and the Public Service Minister, the Hon. Audley Shaw, has confirmed several billion dollars in payments made into the Consolidated Fund by public sector entities operating with surpluses.
Speaking at a press conference at his Ministry, National Heroes Circle, Kingston to expand on his 2010/11 opening budget debate presentation, on Friday (April 9), Mr. Shaw disclosed details of the payments made by 16 public sector entities, deemed to be operating in surplus.
Mr. Shaw said that the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) topped the list with some $530 million, followed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with $500 million each and the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) with $498 million.
Other payments he listed were made by: Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB), Overseas Examination Commission (OEC) and HEART Trust /NTA , $400 million each; Jamaica Development Bank (JDB), $350 million; Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and National Health Fund (NHF) – $300 million each; Culture Health Arts Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, $250 million; Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) – $100 million each; Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) and Transport Authority, $75 million each; and the National Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, $30 million.
Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw (centre), converses with Governor, Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), Mr. Brian Wynter (right), during the Minister’s post-Budget press conference at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, on Friday (April 9). At left is Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes.
The Consolidated Fund is the principal Government account to which all government revenues must be deposited and from which expenditure, via warrants, is withdrawn.
In his opening Budget presentation at Gordon House, Mr. Shaw had indicated that the public bodies were asked to make financial contributions/dividend payments into the Consolidated Fund to assist his Ministry in meeting targets under the economic programme for 2009/10 financial year.
Mr. Shaw informed Parliament that the request was made of those Public Bodies whose profitability and cashflow indicated their ability to pay, and that medium to long-term capital programmes would not be jeopardized. The amount contributed is $5 billion.
“Over the years, the government has invested substantial sums in public entities and has had to absorb significant losses incurred by some. It is plain good sense that those that operate in surplus make a contribution towards Government’s fiscal needs,” he explained.
He also thanked the Board of Management of the public entities for their cooperation.
Mr. Shaw also told the press conference that the government is one step closer to effecting a consolidation of statutory deductions. Noting that this process has proved more challenging than originally projected, he pointed out that a key element of the process was the deliberations on the cap for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
“We are now at a point where a decision is about to be made, and I’m not going to steal the thunder of the Minister of Labour and Social Security, but the Government had made a decision concerning raising the cap on the NIS. Once that is instituted, then it will be seen as the first step towards completing the process of consolidating statutory deductions,” Mr. Shaw said.