Shaw Defends Budget Numbers

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Finance Minister Audley Shaw says the Central Bank has advised him that the recent depreciation of the Jamaican dollar does not reflect a deterioration of underlying economic fundamentals or confidence in the economy.

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Mr. Shaw says going forward the dollar is expected to remain stable.

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AND … Mr. Shaw this afternoon accused the PNP-administration of making a stunning mistake which has caused the people of Jamaica to lose the US equivalent of JMD$625-million.

Shaw told the House of Representatives that the former administration allowed a USD$5-million letter of credit to the embattled North American bauxite firm Noranda to lapse.

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Mr. Shaw says the failure to ensure the letter of credit to Noranda did not lapse was due to slackness.

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AND … Minister Shaw is rejecting a suggestion by Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Dr. Peter Phillips, that projections for funding of the Government’s $580-billion budget was affected by political interference.

Mr. Shaw responded to Dr. Phillips while he closed the budget debate this afternoon in the House of Representatives.

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Dr. Phillips told Parliament last week that he’s astonished that the technocrats who assisted him during his tenure as Finance Minister could have given their approval to the budget tabled by Minister Shaw.

The Finance Minister told Dr. Phillips this afternoon that his remarks are unbecoming.

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Shaw also again defended the Government’s $1.5-million income tax break and the $14-billion tax package.

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Mr. Shaw also accused Dr. Phillips and the former PNP administration of being hypocritical in their criticism of the $14-billion tax package.

He says Dr. Phillips should be reminded of his unconscionable attack on the purchasing power of Jamaicans.

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The $580-billion budget which was tabled by Minister Shaw on April 14 was approved by in the House of Representatives moments ago.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.