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JIS News

The Government’s Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure, which was tabled in Parliament last week, is credible, technically sound and able to stand the scrutiny of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This is the view of newly appointed Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes, who told JIS News that the cuts made, though painful and tough, were necessary if Jamaica is to present a credible budget, which could garner the support of the IMF. But it was not simply a matter of presenting a budget which could gain IMF approval, in Dr. Hughes’ opinion. “It is a matter of straight economics and common sense,” he argued.
“The bottom line is, revenues are below projections and expenditure is higher than anticipated. To deal with this, you have to make cuts, raise revenue or both. It’s as simple as that,” Dr. Hughes emphasised.
He said that what is important is to ensure that the burden is shared fairly. He noted that Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding was very strong on this point. “In our meetings, the Prime Minister kept stressing the point that the sacrifices have to be shared by all classes,” he added.
The Financial Secretary said the Supplementary Estimates provide a basis for a sustainable medium-term economic programme. “If you craft a budget, which is not sound or sustainable, you run into problems, so you have to take the tough decisions. It’s straight economics,” the respected economist said. He noted that the IMF has been showing “greater flexibility” in its approach to issues and that the Supplementary Estimates would strengthen Jamaica’s bargaining position with the Fund.

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