Let's break down the budget
Last week, the Government outlined the estimates of budgeted expenditure to be approved by Parliament for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The figures are preliminary and are subject to change. Recall last year the original budgetary expenditure was $540 billion; $40 billion more than 2013-2014 total expenditures. This year's estimated budget expenditure is approximately $642 billion ($641.567 million); total recurrent expenditures are an estimated $432.579 billion for 2015-2016 compared to an estimated $404.7 billion last fiscal year. Capital expenditure has been estimated at $186 billion; $75 billion more than last year. Allocations to the Ministry of Finance and Planning for 2015-2016 fiscal year show $200 billion for recurrent expenditure and 181 for capital expenditure. Interest payments on debt has fallen by $1.1billion - approximately $132.7 for 2014-2015 - to $131.6 billion. Wages and salaries are marginally less this year relative to last year.
How have the allocations changed?
The Ministry of Science Technology, Energy and Mining are allocated $2.5 billion more than last fiscal year. The Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate are to receive $300 million more than last fiscal year; they are allocated 3.02 billion for recurrent expenditure and $288 million for capital expenditure. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has been allocated $3.77 billion and $195 million for recurrent expenditure and capital expansion, respectively. Allotment to the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing has fallen by $3.5 billion relative to last year. The breakdown was more specific for last fiscal year - $13.4 million was budgeted to assist with climate change and convention programmes. This has assisted the country to commence work on the preparation of the Third National Communication report and prepare the First Biennial Update Report which was due in December 2014, obligated by the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. The sum of $30 million was allocated for the biodiversity conservation project under the Jamaica Rural Economy Adapting to Climate Change programme last fiscal year. The programme was intended to train farmers, conduct community workshops, and for distribution of timber seeds and reforestation projects.
What are the other allocations?
The sum of $44.14 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of National Security for recurrent expenditure and $2.66 billion for capital expenses. For the Ministry of Justice $6.1 billion has been allocated for recurrent expenses and $711 million for capital expansion. For the Office of the Prime Minister, $3.83 billion has been allocated for recurrent and $1.75 billion for capital expenditure. The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has been allocated $7.5 billion for recurrent expenses and $1.1 for capital expenditure. The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing is to receive $3.65 for recurrent expenditure and $8.23 billion for capital expansion. Agriculture and fisheries are to receive $4.26 billion for recurrent expenditure and $3.45 billion for recurrent. The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is to receive just $1.96 billion for recurrent expenditure. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is to receive $2.51 billion for recurrent expenditure and $5.7 billion for capital expansion.
What about health care and the disabled?
The Ministry of Health is to receive $7 billion more than last fiscal year - $49.09 billion for recurrent expenditure and $1.15 billion for capital expansion. Last year, more than $1 billion was allocated to be spent to upgrade health facilities across the island. The plan was to upgrade child care and mental-health facilities as well as implement better sewage treatment in health-care facilities, medical waste enhancement management, primary health care renewal and piped medical gas infrastructure. Plans also included the establishment of Local Area Network in hospitals and to connect all hospitals to a wider area network, expand paper health records and improve storage, and install cold rooms in medical-health facilities. The sum of $40 million was allocated to assist persons with disabilities - specifically to improve their skill sets and increase the employability of poor persons with disabilities aged 18 to 36. How much of this we will achieve is yet to be ascertained.
What are the other allotments?
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is to receive $1.7 billion for recurrent expenses and $27 million in capital expenditure. The Ministry of Youth and Culture has received $4.1 billion for recurrent expenses and $156 million in capital expansion. Local government and community development are allocated $9.6 billion for recurrent expenses and $173 million for capital expansion. The office of the Cabinet has been allocated $545 million for recurrent expenses and $370 for capital expansion. The auditors general are allocated $529.7 million, Office of the Contractor General $236.7 million and Office of the Children's Advocate $135.9 billion.
• Dr Andre Haughton
is a lecturer in the Department of Economics
at the Mona campus of the University of the West
Indies. Follow him on
twitter @DrAndreHaughton; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.