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  • The Government maintained a strong fiscal management programme during the first two months of the current financial year.
  • Addressing the Economic Programme Oversight Committee’s (EPOC) monthly press briefing on Monday (July 6), Co-Chair of the committee, Richard Byles, said April and May were “particularly good months for the country”.
  • He said there was a cumulative primary surplus of $2.8 billion, which is $4.4 billion better than the projected deficit target of $1.6 billion.

The Government maintained a strong fiscal management programme during the first two months of the current financial year.

Addressing the Economic Programme Oversight Committee’s (EPOC) monthly press briefing on Monday (July 6), Co-Chair of the committee, Richard Byles, said April and May were “particularly good months for the country”.

He noted that revenues were $1.25 billion (5.2 per cent) ahead of target while expenditures were $3.34 billion (7.6 per cent) less than projected.

He said there was a cumulative primary surplus of $2.8 billion, which is $4.4 billion better than the projected deficit target of $1.6 billion.

In the meantime, Mr. Byles said officials in the Ministry of Finance and Planning have indicated that the primary balance target of $17 billion set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for June, has been met, and the country will therefore satisfy all the requirements by the IMF for the month.

Tax revenues for the April to May period were also above budget and stood at $58.7 billion better than the $55.9 billion projected by the Government.

The main contributors to the higher than expected tax revenues were General Consumption Tax (GCT) and Special Consumption Tax (SCT).

The EPOC Co-Chair said there is still concern about the underperformance of revenue items such as Grants, Customs and Stamp Duty as well as Company and Dividend Tax.

Meanwhile, at the end of June, the country’s Net International Reserves (NIR), stood at US $2.12 billion. The target set was US $1.3 billion.

“Notwithstanding the payout of debt of US $350 million, the NIR remains considerable ahead of target,” Mr. Byles noted.

Two other strong economic indicators that continue to record strong performances for the country, Mr. Byles said, were remittance inflows and tourist arrivals.

 

He reported that the country continued to benefit from significant foreign exchange earnings through remittances, which he noted, is the country’s largest net earner of foreign exchange.

“Between January and March remittances were US$471 million and that’s up 1.8 per cent on the same period last year. So, it is a good thing for Jamaica that remittances are growing,” Mr. Byles informed.

He said that gross earnings in the tourism sector for May stood at $2.25 billion.