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Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

Jamaica to pass third supplementary budget due to coronavirus

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

A third supplementary budget will be tabled next week for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke

The Supplementary Estimates will be tabled on Tuesday, March 24, Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke told Parliament today.

The new estimates are in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will need to pass before the end of the financial year, Clarke said.

“We would like to get these funds out early and so again I will be requesting the forbearance of parliamentary colleagues for a swift process that is responsive to the circumstances.”

– Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke

Additionally, Dr Clarke said a first supplementary estimate will need to pass “very, very, early in the new financial year” to facilitate expenditure of the fiscal stimulus.

“The severe disruption caused by COVID-19 globally has escalated daily over the past week, and resulted in increasingly stringent measures taken locally to safeguard the Jamaican population,” he said.

Clarke said the first supplementary estimate will need to be passed early in the new fiscal year.

“With measures announced yesterday, and late last week, we will need to make budgetary re-allocations in a manner that reflects our response to date and directs available unutilised amounts to the Contingencies Fund for use during FY 2020/21. This will better prepare Jamaica to weather the economic effect of COVID-19 in 2020/21.”

Dr Clarke requested the cooperation of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), the Standing Finance Committee and the House of Representatives to pass the latest supplementary budget before the fiscal year ends March 31.

To get this done, the supplementary budget will need to be debated and passed on March 25, the day after it is presented.

“We would like to get these funds out early and so again I will be requesting the forbearance of parliamentary colleagues for a swift process that is responsive to the circumstances.

“Working together, Jamaica will recover from the effect of COVID-19.”

The minister had previously announced that the banking sector had agreed to delay the reduction in the asset tax for a year, to provide an additional $3 billion towards the COVID-19 Fiscal Contingency, which will increase to $10 billion.