Thu | Jan 24, 2019

Budget Day - Shaw to present expenditure plan for new fiscal year

Published:Thursday | February 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor
The Jamaica Defence Force First Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment, rehearsing yesterday for today’s ceremonial opening of Parliament and the tabling of the Estimates of Expenditure for 2018-2019.

Jamaicans should know how much the Government plans to spend in the new fiscal year when the Estimates of Expenditure for 2018-2019 are tabled in Parliament this afternoon.

Before that, the broad outlines of projects and legislative agenda for the Andrew Holness administration will be presented in the Throne Speech by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen during the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament at 11 a.m.

Last year, Finance Minister Audley Shaw presented the country with a Budget of $715.5 billion, which was later increased to $805.4 billion.

That expenditure was financed through a mix of revenue measures, grants, loan resources, and included new taxes to the tune of $13.5 billion.

The 2017-2018 tax package included an increase in the special consumption tax (SCT) on fuel, a hike in the SCT on alcoholic beverages, and an increase in the SCT charged on tobacco products.

Shaw also imposed general consumption tax (GCT) on group health insurance and reduced the threshold for application of GCT on consumption of residential electricity. There was also an across-the-board increase of 20 per cent on motor-vehicle licences and allied fees.

This year, Shaw has promised that there will be no new taxes to finance the spending.

According to the finance minister, the country's revenue inflows have been doing fairly well so far this year and were ahead of projections at the end of December 2017.

"Happily, with this trajectory, it is not the Government's plan to introduce a new tax package in the new Budget that is coming," said Shaw at a Mayberry Investments Limited's Investor Forum last month.

He said that the Government would instead focus on implementing non-tax initiatives to cover any gap in the Budget.