Gov't travelling officers get $2.4 billion from supplementary estimates

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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GOVERNMENT travelling officers will receive $2.4 billion from the recently passed 2018/19 supplementary budget.

The additional funding represents the full cost of the proposed increase in travel allowances in 2018/19, and $107.4 million for adjustments to mileage rates for six months of the 2018/2019 financial year.

Other amounts included to meet some of the demands of its ministries, departments and agencies, the Government has allocated as follows:

* $402 million to for the Public Sector Pensioners Health Scheme, resulting from higher than budgeted subscription amount and increased;

* $432 million for its increased subvention to The University of the West Indies (UWI), including $332 million in regular subvention cost and $100 million for capital expenditure;

* $659 million for the Electoral Office of Jamaica (ECJ) to commence a phased removal of the names of deceased persons from the voter's list;

* $150 million to enable the Ministry of Local Government to cover expenditure under the Special Flood Damage Mitigation Programme and repair fire trucks ($50M).

There is also allocation of $935.331 million for the agricultural sector as a reward for its 12 per cent growth performance in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, following the unexpected fall in production at the end of 2017/18.

The Government said that the data suggest that the overall performance of the Jamaican economy is correlated with the outcomes of the agricultural sector and, as a result, it is seeking to further support the growth with additional funding geared towards diversifying output by incentivising the production of other crops, while building resilience and strengthening regulatory infrastructure.

As a result, allocations being made to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries include:

* $363 million to meet contractual obligations under the Sugar Transformation Programme;

* $197 million for production incentives, of which $100 million is to facilitate the Irish potato, Scotch bonnet pepper and onion programmes and the Bamboo and Castor Bean Development projects;

* $96.946 million to meet liabilities of the Jamaica AgriculturalCommodities Regulatory Authority;

* $50 million to meet increased operating expenses of the Cannabis Licencing Authority (CLA);

* a total of $205.2 million to undertake feasibility studies and provide preliminary design for irrigation projects in south Clarendon, St Catherine and the Pedro Plains of St Elizabeth; and

* $60 million in additional subvention to Hope Zoo Foundation, which was transferred from Ministry of Finance and the Public Sector's Contingency Funds.

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