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The Senate on Friday (May 18) passed the Appropriations Bill, giving approval to the government’s estimated spending of $380 billion for this fiscal year.
The Bill, which was piloted by Leader of Government Business and Minister of Justice, Senator AJ Nicholson, has already been approved by the House of Representatives.
When broken down, the figures show that the government expects to spend just over $239.30 billion on the recurrent side of the budget and $141.06 billion on capital expenses.
Senator Nicholson informed the Upper House that the 2007/08 budget was formulated around a target of three per cent real growth; seven per cent inflation rate; and fiscal deficit of 4.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
He informed that total debt servicing for the fiscal year is projected at $203.7 billion or 53.5 per cent of the budget, which compares to $219.6 billion or 59 per cent of last year’s figure. “It is true that the 53.5 per cent is still too high, but we would like to note that it is trending down,” Senator Nicholson stated, noting that the figure shows a reduction of $15. 9 billion or 7.2 per cent on the 2006/07 out-turn.
In making his contribution to the debate, State Minister for Education and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith said he was pleased with the increases the Ministry has received for the 2007/08 fiscal year.
“Let us take for example, grants and contribution that was increased by some 8.4 per cent and this was mainly due to the increase given to PATH (Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education).
In the meantime, Senator Nicholson said that the 2007/08 budget is part of a landscape against which Jamaica’s future is to be determined.
He added that “we as a society are engaged in a major exercise to develop a long-term national plan to transform the nation into a world class one, where every Jamaican will want to make this the place of choice to live, work and raise our families.”