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Phillips: No shockers in Supplementary Estimates

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr Peter Phillips … The laying of the supplementary estimates

FINANCE Minister Dr Peter Phillips says there will be no surprises in the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure, which will be laid in the House of Representatives next week.

Phillips told The Gleaner yesterday that the new Budget would not contain anything that has not already been reviewed by the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC).

Devon Rowe, the financial secretary, told a parliamentary committee in late October that cuts - which could be as deep as $6.9 billion - are likely in order to ensure Jamaica meets the 7.5 per cent of GDP target.

Rowe, who was addressing the PAAC, which examined the interim Fiscal Policy Paper, said revenue has fallen short of target up to August by $6.5 billion, "forcing expenditure containment in order to achieve the overall fiscal targets".

Phillips yesterday asked that the PAAC put itself in a position to review the revised Budget so as to allow for Parliament to consider the First Supplementary Estimates for the 2014-2015 fiscal year on December 9.

Asked what had necessitated the tabling of the Supplementary Budget, Phillips told The Gleaner that "the new fiscal rules require that we bring these now".

He added: "Remember, the new Budget [for 2015-2016] has to be passed before March 31. We also have to review the fiscal outlook in January, February."

Phillips said the laying of the Supplementary Estimates "is to ensure tighter and better fiscal management".

Parliament has approved a $539.3 billion Budget to carry out the activities of the country. Roughly $233 billion, or 43 cents out of every dollar, in the 2014-2015 Estimates of Expenditure is to go towards servicing the debt, while $160 billion has been earmarked for the payment of wages.