Govt to be More Accountable for Spending Excess Tax Dollars

The government will have to account for how it spends excess tax dollars in a supplementary budget, going forward.

That’s according to the IMF’s Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan.

In recent times, the government has been collecting significantly more taxes than anticipated.

Dr. Ramakrishnan says in the future, if they expect higher revenues, they’ll have to present a plan to parliament on how they’ll spend it.

The excess taxes so far have gone into boosting the primary surplus. That’s the money the government has to set aside to pay down its debt.

Jamaica has one of the highest primary surplus targets in the world, at 7-percent of GDP.

According to State Minister for Finance, Fayval Williams, the primary surplus target for 2016/17 was surpassed by nearly $13-billion.

There have been complaints that some of this money should instead be used to boost social programmes and build infrastructure.

Dr. Ramakrishnan says the aim is to meet the target, not to exceed it.

However, she says maintaining the high primary surplus has been important to restoring Jamaica’s credibility internationally.

Dr. Ramakrishnan was speaking in an exclusive interview with Nationwide News from her office in Washington D.C.