Gov’t adds $14.8 billion to 2023/24 budget
THE Government is transferring an additional $14.8 billion from its current budgeted contingency allocation to a number of its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to compensate their employees.
This Central Government spend for fiscal year 2023/24 is now estimated at $1.036 trillion, up from $1.021 trillion, Jamaica’s first trillion-dollar budget.
In a statement to the House of Representatives Tuesday, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke said that, given the initial implementation date and the fact that discussions with the various unions continued into the current fiscal year, it was not possible to build into each head of the budget for 2023/24 the relevant adjustments to facilitate payment of the second year compensation restructure amounts.
He stated that the primary objective of the 2023/24 second supplementary estimate is therefore to allocate to individual heads (accounts), the required funds to enable payment of the compensation adjustments due during the fiscal year.
He said, however, that only some of the heads have been adjusted under the second supplementary estimates, as work continues with a number of the MDAs to ensure accuracy in the determination of the amounts due for compensation.
He said that a number of entities are also being allocated one-off grants or additional subvention to enable them to meet the compensation restructure payments. Also being addressed under the second supplementary estimates are consequential adjustments arising from changes in the assignment of subjects and departments, agencies and other public bodies.
According to the minister, the addition of $8.9 billion to recurrent programmes was primarily to facilitate the payment of compensation for restructured amounted to as follows: $1.5 billion for municipal corporations, mayors and councillors; $1.7 billion to the National Water Commission (NWC); $750 million to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); $445.25 million to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC/Montego Bay Metro); $990 million to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA); $166.74 million to golden age homes; $167.89 million for poor relief officers/inspectors; and $298.80 million to infirmaries.
Under recurrent programmes, Dr Clarke said that the second supplementary estimates also reflect the $2.7-billion value of equipment (including taxes payable by the government) donated by the People’s Republic of China, which was also captured on the revenue side of the budget under grants.
“The second supplementary estimates, therefore, provides for an overall increase of $14.5 billion in the 2023/24 Expenditure Estimates, which will be financed from an estimated $9.0-billion higher-than-programmed revenue flow and utilisation of prior year cash resources to finance the public bodies’ loans,” he noted.