Passing The Peoples’ Test …
Finance Minister Hon. Audley Shaw opened the 2018/19 budget debate in Parliament today, March 8, 2018. It was a wide ranging address with positive achievements. The economy is doing well. Tax collection is up and better than budgeted in the 2017/18 budget.
“We are committed to the passing of the Peoples’ test to reducing taxes …. and to imposing no new taxes in this budget 2018/19. We will continue to passing the peoples’ test. The Book of Job tells us there is hope of a tree that is cut down … Jamaica is sprouting again. We will continue from progress to prosperity.”
While we work to increase competition in the banking sector in Jamaica. This better than a fixed bill.
A new consumer protection body is to be set up to look at bank charges. Our government was hit hard as we had many dormant accounts. We may form a new protection agency or do so through the existing Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC).
Public Sector Wage Bill
Are you aware that 32 percent of taxes received is being used to pay public sector workers. (ie. Total Public Sector Wage Bill).
The offer to date to public sector entities like nurses, teachers and the police is 26 percent over four years. As you know we have a target with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of 9 percent of wage bill of the GDP. We have phased in the public sector pension contributions of 2.5 percent over a longer period. Instead of in two years …. we have decided to make it 1 percent by phasing it in. The percent for the police is 36 percentage. We presided over 26 +10 teachers over 4 years. Civil Servants will get an average 14 percent for four years + 10 = 40 percent.
Jobs creation is doing well and unemployment is trending down. We have a big problem of running out of qualified workers to fill job openings. This is a serious problem. The BPO outsourcing sector is growing very fast. An industrial/ technology Park for Naggo Head, Portmore, St. Catherine will be built.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie, Vision’s SIC monitored the Finance Minister Audley Shaw’s presentation as he made same in Parliament.