February 22, 2021 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
The Finance Minister has announced that the Government is projected to spend approximately $831 Billion for fiscal year 2021-2022. The Minister was tabling his estimates of expenditures for Fiscal year 2021-2022.
$73 Billion Lost this calendar year
The $73 Billion dollars lost this calendar year, which is approximately 11.3 percent of annual revenue, tells quite a story. This COVID assault has really devastated Jamaica and other National economies. Not too many countries could withstand such a shock which sent its leaders to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) for assistance.
$60 Billion Rescue Package
The Central Banks profit of some (60) six billion dollars is a blessing in disguise. Under the Bank of Jamaica Act (BOJ) the government has the legislative power to raid their surplus. This allows the government to avoid raising any new taxes to fund the budget. Oh clever Mr. Finance Minister.
This will be used to buy some two million doses of vaccines. This will give 60 percent of our estimated population of 3 million, free vaccines. This will be enough to cause herd immunity to occur.
This happened despite an independent Central Bank. Bank of Jamaica Governor Richard Byles has said:
The Jamaican economy is showing signs of recovery despite the onslaught of the Coronavirus.
Despite the Covid-19 virus we are keeping our heads above water. Most of us cannot swim. The diaspora has been remitting funds above 2019 levels. We have some $3 billion dollars in reserves.
Capital expenditures will be dealt with when the debate on the estimates are held in a few weeks from now in parliament. Finance Minister Hon. Nigel Clarke will present the . Opposition Leader Hon. Mark Golding will respond then the PM Andrew Holness. Nigel Clarke will close the debate.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is veteran journalist with International exposure.