Finance Minister Defends Holness-Administration’s Social Spending Increases

Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, says the almost 50-per cent increase in social spending by the government required deliberate action on the part of the Holness administration.

Yesterday, Opposition Spokesman for Education and former Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, claimed the expansion of the school feeding programme was already calculated in the budget of his administration.

However, Dr. Clarke says it’s a simple fact that his administration actually implemented the improvement.

Speaking with Nationwide News yesterday, Dr. Clarke says his administration is focused on ensuring the most vulnerable Jamaicans are protected.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, in its recent review under the precautionary stand-by programme, lauded the increase as a step in the right direction toward strengthening the social safety net.

However, in recent days, the Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, has called on the government to roll back the Special Consumption Tax charged on petrol.

The Opposition contends there’s no reason for the SCT which was put in place to pay for an oil hedge which has since been abandoned.

But, Dr. Clarke still contends that rolling back the tax would significantly impact social spending such as the school feeding programme.

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