Finance Minister not budging on spending
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips says the government will resist all attempts to have it increase spending.
Speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday, Phillips said the Portia Simpson Miller-led government is not prepared to allow the country’s economic programme to go awry.
He was responding to calls from opposition spokesman on finance Audley Shaw for greater allocation of funding to areas such as education, public cleansing and the health sector.
He said when Shaw was finance minister he ignored his obligation under the previous Stand-by Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was inked in 2010.
However, Phillips said the current administration is not prepared to do that.
Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, said that the government has apparently abandoned its conscience on the altar of IMF dictates.
Shaw complained that despite the Government continuing to boast about meeting its commitment under the IMF programme, the public health sector, for example, is crumbling due to inadequate funding.
The men were debating the revised estimates of expenditure which has seen the national budget of $540 billion being reduced by $739 million.
Yesterday, the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) also said it was concerned that the Government has been persistently under spending to achieve the primary surplus target.
The Committee, which monitors Jamaica's four-year programme with the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) says its review of the April to October period shows that the Government expenditure was $12.5 billion below budget.
And the committee points out that over the period the country recorded a cumulative primary surplus of $45.5 billion: