Cabinet signs off on new Budget today

Published: Thursday | March 26, 2009

A copy of the Government of Jamaica's 2007/08 Estimates of Expenditure. - file

The Bruce Golding administration will today sign off on its planned expenditure for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Golding has been meeting with his Cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries and technical staff since the start of the week to take a final look at the proposed expenditures. They will meet today to sign off on the estimates.

The prime minister had asked his ministers to bear in mind the current unfavourable global economy as they cast their budgets, and to select three areas of priority on which they would concentrate during the coming financial year.

Golding has also urged the ministers to ensure that the programmes of their ministries were "tight and efficient".

The prime minister, who has described the new Budget as the most difficult he has taken part in crafting throughout his many years in politics, will get some good news before entering the Cabinet meeting.

$2b grant

He will sign off on a $2 billion budget support grant being provided by the European Union.

The grant will include a portion for a general budget support to assist Jamaica in its national development and debt-reduction strategies.

The second portion is aimed at assisting the Government's strategy for the sugar industry, by supporting the divestment and diversification of the sector and cushioning the social impact of the sugar-adaptation process.

This year the Government had initially projected expenditure of $489 billion. This was later hiked to $507 billion.

However, official figures up to the end of January showed expenditure being $7.4 billion behind projection.

On the revenue side, the figures up to January showed a $20 billion shortfall.