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KINGSTON — Minister of Finance, Hon. Audley Shaw, says that a First Supplementary Estimates is to be tabled in the House of Representatives within two months.

Speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce's (JCC) Luncheon Forum, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday July 19, 2011, Mr. Shaw said this has resulted, primarily, from the settlement of the outstanding seven per cent salary increase and the attendant retroactive payments to be made to public sector employees amounting to $30 billion, for which provisions have to be made in the 2011/2012 budget.

The Minister cited protracted negotiations between the Government and the trade unions representing public sector employees, as one of the principal reasons delaying the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) review of the Government’s performance and targets, as stipulated under the Standby Agreement.

“Now $30 billion, in any currency, is a lot of money, and so let us understand that a part of the delay in the IMF review is that we have to be cutting and carving to make the space to accommodate that agreement that we have signed,” Mr. Shaw said.

“And what I can signal is that, we are going to have to make some sacrifices in order to accommodate those demands that have been made upon us and which we have finally agreed to. We had signed an agreement, and the public sector held strain for a while during the crisis, which we appreciate, and we are trying our best now to start to resolve that issue,” he explained.

Mr. Shaw stressed, however, that the full cooperation of the nation is needed to achieve the targets, because there are ceilings within which the Government still has to operate. He warned that, in the circumstances, there are inevitably areas of expenditure cuts that are going to come.

“By late August, early September, I will be tabling an early supplementary estimate, once it is approved by Cabinet, so that we can move forward with doing our business,” Mr. Shaw stated.

 

By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter