March 9, 2023 | By Colin O. Jarrett |
Jamaica’s debt stock decreased over the 12-month period between March 2022 and February 2023.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, advised that total public debt fell from $2.18 trillion in March 2022, to $2.16 trillion last month.
He provided the update during Wednesday’s (March 1) meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, whose members were reviewing the 2023/24 Estimates of Expenditure.
Dr. Clarke further indicated that Jamaica’s debt service obligations for 2023/24 will be lower than those for the current fiscal year.
“Last year… the principal repayment on our debt was $162 billion. We are forecasting [that] in 2023/24… the principal that we are repaying is $125 billion. So, it is less by approximately $37 billion,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, bauxite levy inflows to the Government’s coffers for the current fiscal year are expected to total $1.2 billion.
The out-turn for 2022/23, which Dr. Clarke said is “one of the better years”, is lower than the $2.4 billion collected in 2021/22.
The Minister pointed out, however, that the larger sum represents payments by some bauxite companies from other periods.
“You’ll recall [that] we went through a period where bauxite levy to the country was zero. Bauxite levy in 2019/20 was zero.
Bauxite levy in 2020/21 was zero. Then we collected $2.4 b in 2021/22… some of which related to 2019/20 and 2020/21. We had one company, in particular, where there was a bauxite levy that was due over a number of years, and that came into the previous (2021/22) fiscal year,” he informed.
Dr. Clarke advised that the Government is projecting to collect approximately $1.3 billion for 2023/24.