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Jamaica poised to earn a Grade A

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica is expected to earn a Grade A for Budget credibility for fiscal year 2014-15 under the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Framework (PEFA), a standard established by the European Union to assess a country's actual domestic revenue to budget.

To achieve that grade, a country's domestic revenue - excluding grants - to budget must be between 97 per cent and 106 per cent for at least two of the last three years, the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) said in its latest communiquÈ issued last week.

EPOC noted that Jamaica's performance in fiscal year 2012-13 was 95.5 per cent, and in fiscal year 2013-14 it was 97.2 per cent.

"If Jamaica can achieve 97 per cent or better in 2014-15, it would have earned a grade of A for Budget credibility," it said.

97 per cent target

Financial Secretary Devon Rowe, speaking at a forum at The Gleaner's North Street, Kingston offices, last Friday, said Jamaica was expected to achieve the 97 per cent target or better for fiscal year 2014-15, which ends on March 31.

EPOC also noted that for the period April 2014, the start of the current fiscal year, to January 2015, revenues and grants remained lower than budgeted by $8.6 billion or 2.6 per cent, largely as a result of the cumulative shortfalls in companies tax and general consumption tax (GCT).

Both companies tax revenues, short $7 billion or 30.9 per cent, and GCT, which came up $7.2 billion or 12.4 per cent short, continued to be below budget for the review period, EPOC said.

The PEFA programme is a multi-donor partnership that aims to improve how public finances are managed throughout the world.