Economic Reform Programme Creating Room for Increased Spending, says Clarke

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Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, says measures under the Economic Reform Programme are generating the fiscal space to facilitate increased Central government capital expenditure.

He says this has been evident over the last five years. He says during this period the inflation-adjusted programmed expenditures increased by 162-percent between fiscal years 2014/15 and 2019/20. Dr. Clarke pointed out that just over $72-billion is earmarked for 2019/20.

The Finance Minister says this is a 5-percent increase over the figure in the 2018/19 Revised Estimates, adding that the Administration’s action reflects a focus on effectively addressing concerns prioritised by citizens.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke says while the Administration has made significant headway in boosting capital expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, GDP, there’s a lot more they want to be able to do.

He emphasised this requires the generation of higher levels of sustainable economic growth, in light of prevailing “rigidity” in the Budget, including programmed provisions for wages, salaries and allowances, pensions, and interest payments.

The Minister was speaking at the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, CaPRI, Annual Budget Review and Public Forum, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Monday.

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