Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Briefing | Scrutinising the budgetary expenditure for the 2018-2019 fiscal year

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMDr Andre Haughton
In this 2017 file photo, a workers is seen conducting a land survey along Barbican Road in St Andrew to facilitate the widening of the road.
The security forces on the ground during state public of emergency now on in St James.
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An estimated $773 billion is expected to be spent by the Government during the next fiscal year (FY) as the items of expenditure for the 2018-2019 Budget has been tabled by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. The projected expenditure for the 2018-2019 FY is $31 billion less than the $805.5 million spent last year. Recurrent expenditures for the 2018-2019 FY, is an estimated $560 billion compared to $515 million for the 2017- 2018 FY while capital expenditure is for roughly $214 billion compared to $290 billion for the 2017-2018 FY. Debt servicing is estimated to be $136.9 billion for interest payments and $152 billion for debt amortisation.

This year, the Ministry of Finance is demonstrating some attempt to plan over the medium term by tabling a budget forecast over a four-year time horizon up to 2022. The different ministries have each been allotted sums to carry out their current operations, as well as some have been allotted money for capital expenditure projects.

The Office of the Prime Minister has been allotted $5.896 billion for recurrent expenditure and $5.5 billion for capital projects.

 

What capital projects does the Office of the Prime Minister plan to undertake?

 

Some $1 billion is to be spent on the Youth Employment in Digital and Creative Industries project for reconstruction and development, with the objective to build the capacity and enhance the skills of Jamaica's youth to improve their employability in the digital and animation industries

The Government has reserved $1.25 billion the implementation of the National Identification System to be funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, with the objective to establish a unique identification number for individuals and develop a secure, efficient and reliable database of all Jamaican citizens. Also, $1.1 billion is to be spent on the Jamaica Integrated Community Development Project with the objective to enhance access to basic urban infrastructure and services, and support increased community safety in selected economically vulnerable and socially volatile inner-city communities in Jamaica.

The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has been allotted $12.738 billion for recurrent expenditure and $21 billion for capital projects.

 

What capital projects are to be undertaken by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation?

 

This ministry gets $12 billion for major infrastructure development programmes to continue and to complete Mandela Highway (phase1); continue and complete 54 local roadworks - subcontracts; commence road construction works on Hagley Park Road and achieve 65 per cent completion. The allocation to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is also to continue road construction works on Constant Spring Road and achieve 70 per cent completion; continue and complete road construction works on Barbican Road; and commence road construction works along Ferris - Mackfield Road section and achieve 70 per cent completion.

Also, $4 billion has been earmarked for the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project, with the objective of improving the alignment and capacity of the existing southern coastal main arterial road in order that it will be safe and efficient, free from flooding and provide for future development.

The Government has earmarked $1 billion for the Jamaica Foundations for Competitiveness; $1.08 billion for the Economic Partnership Capacity Building Project; $573 million for the pilot project for Climate and Adaptation Programme to be funded by the Inter-American Development Bank; and $250 million for the Credit Enhancement Programme to be implemented by the Development Bank of Jamaica and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. More than $900 million has been earmarked for irrigation, water and climate change- and resilience-related issues.

 

What about crime and violence?

 

The Ministry of National Security has been allotted $66.19 billion for recurrent expenditure and more than $12.4 billion for capital projects. These include: $3.78 billion for the Cyber Security Initiatives, for enhanced cyber capability; $4 billion to purchase vehicles for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); $11.5 billion for the acquisition of aircraft for the JDF; $3.11 billion for construction and improvement of the JDF; $6.3 billion to purchase vehicles to improve the mobility of the Jamaica Constabulary Force; $1.9 billion to purchase tele-communications equipment to facilitate the procurement of equipment to upgrade and digitalise communication and surveillance systems within the military and security forces. Two billion dollars goes towards the construction and improvement of police stations; $304 million for the construction and improvement of correctional facilities; and $148 million to purchase vehicles

The Ministry of Health has been allocated $65.6 billion for recurrent expenditure and $2.165 billion for capital projects; $647 million for the HIV Prevalence in Most-at-Risk Population Reduced Project; and $759 million for the Programme for Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality.