The Government's revenues for October were affected by lower pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) collections, tax on interest, and duties related to international trade, the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) reported yesterday.
When revenues are compared to budget, which EPOC said is currently more aggressive than the targets set out in the programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), they were lower by $5.5 billion, however, "this adverse revenue performance was balanced by prudent management of both recurrent expenses and capital projects, both being lower than budgeted expenditure", said EPOC, the body monitoring the IMF economic support programme.
Co-chairman of EPOC, Richard Byles, said PAYE collections "have pretty much" trailed budget almost all of this fiscal year.
Debt, imports down
"We all know that there have been layoffs and the layoffs seem to be pretty much in the formal sector ... some of them in the middle and near to the top. But some of the jobs that have been created are more to the bottom, and so maybe that is why the PAYE is lagging in that way," Byles told a news briefing in New Kingston yesterday.
Tax on interest has also declined, but Byles said that was because the debt was down. He said taxes collected in the international trade also declined, possibly because imports have also declined.
EPOC also reported that the provisional fiscal numbers posted for September 2013 by the Ministry of Finance and Planning have been adjusted downwards for flows related to prior years being reflected in the primary balance. As a result, the primary balance of $43 billion for September has now been revised to $39.6 billion.
Byles said, however, that "this lower outturn still exceeds the IMF target of $38.2 billion".
During October, the primary balance rose by $0.5 billion to $40.1 billion, $16.2 billion better than last year's figure of $23.9 billion, Byles said. Tax revenues, up to the review period this year, totalled $187.8 billion, $17 billion better than last year's figure of $170.8 billion, while the fiscal balance this year is minus $19.5 billion, minus $22.5 billion better than last year's figure of minus $42 billion.
Byles said that while there are no intra-quarter quantitative performance criteria in the IMF programme, when compared with the Government's budgeted figure of $36.2 billion, the provisional primary balance was $3.9 billion above budget.