By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, says the tight 2014/15 budget is necessary “if Jamaica is to continue to trod its way along the long road to debt sustainability.”
Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding. Photo: JIS
“This is also absolutely essential if we are to build an economy and a society that can provide the hopes and aspirations that our people desire and deserve,” Golding said.
The minister was opening the debate on the Appropriations Bill in the Senate, on Friday, May 2.
Meanwhile, he said the government is optimistic that Jamaica will pass its fourth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Indications are that the particularly challenging fourth test as at the 31st of March will also be passed,” the minister added.
Golding noted that the qualitative targets, including the 7.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and the primary balance have been met.
“The structural benchmarks as at March 31, 2014, have also been met. As regards the latter, the Banking Services Bill and the Flexi work week legislation were tabled in the House as required under the agreement with the IMF,” he pointed out.
He noted that this completed the programme’s legislative deliverables for the last fiscal year of 2013/14.
The government negotiated a US$932.3 million four-year extended fund facility with the IMF and the country is expected to meet certain stipulations in order to continue benefiting under the programme.
For his part, government senator, Norman Grant, said there needs to be a better attitude by Jamaicans towards the payment of taxes.
He added that if taxes are not paid, then the government will have to borrow which will “balloon our debt and it will put us in a position that none of us will be proud of.”
The Senate approved the Appropriations Bill, giving approval to the government’s estimated expenditure for the financial year 2014/2015.
The government presented a budget of $539.35 billion for 2014/15, with $404.654 billion earmarked for recurrent (house-keeping) expenses and $134.698 billion for capital (development) spending.