Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Briefing | Outline of budgeted projects and programmes for the fiscal year

Published:Wednesday | March 1, 2017 | 3:12 AM
An estimated $588 million is budgeted to be spent on agricultural projects for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
A total of $1.87 billion is reserved for projects in the health sector.
1
2

The Budget Debate is going on, and an understanding of the Estimates of Expenditures (how the money will be spent) is important for the country to move holistically towards development. Due to debt obligations arising from Jamaica's high debt burden, Jamaica has limited fiscal space but must make an effort to get the most from it.

WHAT TYPE OF PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES ARE FOR

AGRICULTURE IN 2017/2018 FY?

An estimated $588 milion is budgeted to be spent on agricultural projects for the 2017/2018 fiscal year (FY). Of this amount, $79.7 million will be spent to enhance the resilience of the agricultural sector and coastal areas, JM$70 million will be spent on the Essex Valley Irrigation Infrastructural Development Programme, $126.5 million will be spent on the Rural Economic Development Initiative, $131.7 million to be spent on the Jamaican Banana Accompanying Measures (JBAMS), $180 million to be spent on the Agriculture Competitiveness Programme (formerly the rural competitiveness programme).

WHAT ABOUT EDUCATION?

$6.9 million is budgeted to Promote Quality Education and Advancing the Reality of a Child Friendly Environment.

The University of Technology Enhancement Project is estimated to receive $56 million. The early Childhood Development Project (IBRD) is estimated to receive $45 million, Strengthening the School-Feeding Programme is budgeted JM$11 million, the education system transformation programme will receive JM$455 million and the Construction of Early Childhood Institutions Project $100 million.

WHAT TYPE OF PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES ARE FOR HEALTH IN 2017/2018 FY?

Health care is a very important factor to increase longevity and human development of a country. With the current problems at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, the sector needs critical attention. In total, $1.87 billion is reserved for projects in the health sector.

JM$744 million is earmarked to support to the National HIV/AIDS Response in Jamaica, JM$589.8 million will be spent to support the Programme for Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality (PROMAC) in Jamaica, $492 million will be spent on the HIV Prevalence in Most-at-Risk Population Reduced, $10 million is reserved to be spent on institutional Strengthening to improve national surveillance, prevention and control of infectious diseases, while JM$24 million will be spent to strengthen the overall health systems in Jamaica.

WHAT ABOUT HOUSING, WATER AND SEWAGE?

Jamaica Water Resources Development Master Plan is allocated $5 million. The Integrated Management of the Yallahs/Hope River Watershed Management Area is allocated $80 million, and the Jamaica Economical Housing Project (GOJ/China EXIM Bank) will receive nothing this fiscal year.

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION?

In total, $19 billion is earmarked to be spent on transportation and communication. $46 million will be spent to upgrade the international postal system, $3 million will be spent on the Palisadoes Shoreline and Road Project, $18.7 billion is outline to be spent on major infrastructure for development programme and the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project is budgeted $246 million. This year, the Trifold National Transport Repository Project, the Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme, Road Rehabilitation Project, and the Rural Road Rehabilitation Project will receive no attention.

WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?

$19 million is budgeted for Developing a Comprehensive Bush Fire Warning Index for Effective Bush Fire.

The HCFC Phase Out Management Plan Implementation is budgeted JM$11 million, the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience II - Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism is budgeted JM$338 million. The Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco) is budgeted JM$28 million, while the Third National Communication and Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC is allocated JM$19 million, and the Portmore Hagen Climate Change Park is allocated JM$30 million. The National Quick Start Programme Trust Fund Project, The National Biodiversity Planning to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Management Strategic Plan in Jamaica, Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Area Protected System is not allocated anything.

HOW WILL JAMAICA BORROW AND HOW MUCH WILL IT SPEND ON DEBT SERVICING?

Public debt servicing for the 2017/2018 FY is $172.5 billion; $102.44 external, while $70.1 is internal. Total bilateral loans for the 2017/2018 FY is estimated $11.4 billion, $5.5 billion more than the $5.9 billion borrowed for the 2016/2017 FY. Total external loans is an estimated $70.6 billion for the FY 2016/2017. Last year, total external loans were $47.4 billion.

Domestic loans have increase from $41.9 billion, the estimate for the 2017/2018 FY is JM$89 billion. Total loans; domestic, external and bilateral $159.6 billion for the 2017/2018 FY, as opposed to the $89.3 billion borrowed in the 2016/2017 FY.

- Dr Andre Haughton is a lecturer in the Department of Economics on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Follow him on Twitter @DrAndreHaughton; or email editorial@gleanerjm.com