Our Business and Finance Editor, Kalilah Reynolds, reports

The government’s finances were better than expected at least up to July, four months after the country recorded its first case of COVID-19.

Chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, EPOC, Keith Duncan, provided the numbers at a media conference today.

EPOC met on September 11 to review the nation’s finances up to July.

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The bad news is that compared to last year, the government has been collecting less and spending more, leaving the country with a 10-point-8 billion dollar deficit.

But, the good news is, they expected a lot worse.

EPOC Chair, Keith Duncan, says tax collections are down compared to last year, but they’re ahead of budget.

According to Mr. Duncan, even income tax collections are better than expected.

On the other hand, the government has had to spend more on healthcare, security, and CARE packages.

According to Mr. Duncan, up to July, they spent 18-billion dollars, or 10-per cent more than last year.

He went on to explain that for this Jamaica’s debt servicing costs are not being covered by the difference between the country’s revenues and expenditures.

However, Mr. Duncan says funds brought forward from last year have been able to fill the hole, and the government is still on track to hit its debt reduction goal.