FINANCIAL Secretary Darlene Morrison says that increased revenues are primarily responsible for a $4.6 billion boost in the fiscal space available for non-debt expenditure in the new 2019/20 supplementary estimates, tabled in Parliament last month. The main contributors to this fiscal space are tax revenues expected to contribute some $3.5 billion, and “additional” revenues as well as adjustments to the nominal figure for the primary surplus target which has produced an additional $1 billion.
Major adjustments in allocations which will accrue from the increased revenues include: $1.5 billion for Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ); a refund of GCT payments to certain small businesses accounting for $694 million; pension payments of $622.8 million; $1 billion for the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; $1.4 billion for the Ministry of National Security; and a $1 billion subvention for the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica.
The total already allocated for compensation of Government employees for 2019/20 has jumped to $210.4 billion. This will increase the non-debt expenditure to $494 billion.
Morrison also made an adjustment to the total figures for estimates, when she explained to the committee that the new figure for the 2019/20 budget of $853.2 billion was inflated by an error in public debt servicing (interest rates) which reflected an allocation of $141.14 billion, instead of $139.1 billion. The new total figure for the 2019/20 budget is $851.1 billion.
Revenue and grants showed an increase of $3.6 billion to $638 billion, a 0.6 per cent increase, and total tax revenues were projected to increase by $4.1 billion, increasing net tax revenue to $61.7 billion, while capital revenues and grants were down by $2.1 billion.
Morrison said that it was as a result of the revenue increases that the ministry has put forward a supplementary budget, with increased provisions driven by requests from numerous ministries, departments, and agencies.
— Balford Henry
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