The Full Story
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, tabled the Third Supplementary Estimates for fiscal year 2023/24 in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 26).
In a statement to the House, Dr. Clarke said the estimates provide for total expenditure of $1.094 trillion, an increase of $58.2 billion over the second supplementary estimates.
He indicated that financing of the estimates is programmed from a projected $43.1-billion increase in revenues and grants.
This, the Minister pointed out, will primarily comprise increased tax revenues of $35.8 billion, non-tax revenues totalling $6.1 billion, and grants amounting to $1 billion.
Dr. Clarke said the estimates reflect, among other things, allocations to facilitate second-year implementation of the compensation restructure for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) not accommodated in the second supplementary estimates.
He further informed that provisions have been made for non-debt recurrent expenditure of $719.4 billion.
This, the Minister outlined, includes below-the-line sums, representing an increase of $39.1 billion over the second estimates; capital expenditure of $66.6 billion, representing an $8.7-billion reduction on the previous allocation; and debt service of $308 billion, comprising interest payments of $170 billion, which represents an increase of $14.9 billion, and amortisation payments of $138 billion amounting to an increase of $12.9 billion.
The additional $39.1 billion in non-debt recurrent expenditure is allocated as follows – $1.4 billion to recurrent programmes; $37.2 billion for compensation of employees; and $0.6 billion to other outflows, comprising loans to public bodies.
“These indicated increases represent the net changes in each of the categories as the overall adjustments to the prior budget involves reallocation, reductions and additions to various activities,” Dr. Clarke pointed out.
He said the net increase of $1.4 billion on recurrent programmes is, therefore, the end result of adjustments inclusive of $1.7 billion allocated for the holding of local government elections within the fiscal year.
Dr. Clarke also pointed out that $480 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, of which $400 million is for social housing and $80 million to support the trucking of water by the National Water Commission (NWC) to drought-stricken areas.
He advised that $420 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, of which $100 million is programmed for the cleanup of town centres, $200 million for community roads, $120 million for indigent housing, and $60 million for the trucking of water.
The Finance Minister said $200 million has been budgeted for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to provide compassionate grants; $260 million will go to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining for farm roads; $126 million to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, including $31.5 million to support the development of sports and cultural programmes for youth; and $50.9 million to support the establishment of a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) regional office in St. Thomas.
Additionally, Dr. Clarke said $1.6 billion has been allocated to support compensation restructure payments for central government agencies as well as the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), which will receive $472 million, as well as $345 million to the University Hospital of the West Indies; $395 million to the Caribbean Maritime University; $120 million to the Tourism Enhancement Fund; and $107 million to the Ministry of Health and Wellness entities.
The net increase of $37.2 billion on compensation of employees reflects the allocation of $54.5 billion to this category to address the second-year implementation of the compensation restructure and a provision of sums to address arrears related to the first year of the exercise.
The Fiscal Policy Paper 2023/24 Interim Report was also tabled in keeping with Financial Administration and Audit (FAA) Act stipulations.
The Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of the House, will consider and report on the Estimates on October 4.