$25.4B added to budget as Clarke tables third supplementary estimates Loop Jamaica

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Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The national budget now stands at $998.2 billion after Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, on Tuesday, tabled the Third Supplementary Estimates for fiscal year 2022/23 in the House of Representatives.

Clarke explained that the estimates were developed within the context of revised revenue projections indicating an expected improvement of $25.4 billion. This expected improvement is primarily due to tax revenue which is expected to increase by $28 billion, arising from a higher growth estimate and taxes arising from the planned additional spend on wages.

“Grant inflows are also programmed to increase by $1.1 billion while capital revenue, non-tax revenue and bauxite levy are programmed to be below the prior estimates,” said Clarke.

He told the House that the additional expenditure is primarily to facilitate payments under the public sector compensation restructure, which accounts for $23.7 billion of the supplementary amount.

“Contributing to this increased requirement is a combination of factors, including adjustments to the initial compensation restructure proposal following discussions with unions and bargaining groups, provision of a higher percentage of the third-year target in year one and the impact of overtime hours not accounted for in the estimate,” the finance minister explained.

He stressed that the amount for wages and salaries in the third supplementary estimates “represents what Jamaica can afford at this time”.

Clarke noted that the estimates have wages and salaries at approximately 11.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which he said represents a meaningful adjustment in aggregate.

A further breakdown of the provisions shows the following:

Expenditure on recurrent programmes is slated to increase by a net amount of $2.7 billion. Allocation of $1.8 billion as a one-off payment to travelling officers in relation to financial year 2021/22. $1.6 billion in subvention to the University Hospital of the West Indies to assist with compensation payments $300 million to supplement the increase to existing Government pensioners. Some of the increase has been covered by reallocations.

Meanwhile, interest payments are estimated to increase by $2.0 billion, comprised of $1.8 billion on the external side and $0.2 billion on the domestic side. The increases are primarily reflecting interest and exchange rate changes.

At the same time, capital expenditure declines by $2.3 billion due to the inability of four projects to spend the allocated amounts before the fiscal year comes to an end and a reduction on the contingency provision for new projects.

Additionally, $1.1 billion has also been reallocated to the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.