Largest share of Jamaica’s budget to education

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has received the largest share of the Government’s $853.5-billion budget for 2020/21, totalling some $117 billion.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said the provision is $5 billion more than the allocation for 2019/20, and represents the largest increase for the upcoming fiscal year, outside of sums earmarked for debt interest repayments.

Additionally, Dr Clarke said it represents 22 per cent of the earmarked non-debt expenditure of just over $491 billion, for 2020/21.

He made the disclosure as he opened the 2020/21 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 10).

Close-circuit TV network ‘JamaicaEye’ CCTV network will receive $1.2 billion for the supply and installation of cameras, servers and software upgrades.

Dr Clarke advised that the Government has earmarked $1.1 billion of the Education Ministry’s provision to the Primary and Secondary School Infrastructure Project.

This, he added, will facilitate the removal of more schools from the shift system, construction of more classrooms, and upgrading of other school facilities.

“In total, Minister [Karl] Samuda has announced that this project will cost $14 billion and will be implemented over three years, targeting 534 schools.”

– Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke

Meanwhile, Dr Clarke said the Ministry of National Security has a capital budget of $15.9 billion.

Major allocations include $2.3 billion to construct and improve police stations and other buildings. Among these are the State-owned Forensic Pathology Autopsy Suite; completing the renovation of 40 police stations islandwide; and the production of designs, and pre-investment activities for two new police divisional headquarters in St. Catherine and Westmoreland, and a new national police headquarters.

Additionally, $1.5 billion is earmarked to complete phase two of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Burke Barracks and undertake expansion works at the Moneague Training Camp, including the Military Canine Facility.

Dr Clarke said $11.1 billion is programmed to procure equipment, inclusive of vehicles, vessels and aircraft.

Of the sum, $1.2 billion will be used to procure cars for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); $3 billion is earmarked for JDF helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; $2.8 billion is set aside for maritime patrol vessels, to improve Jamaica’s border security and stem the flow of illegal weapons into the island; and $1.2 billion is budgeted for the supply and installation of cameras, servers and software to upgrade the ‘JamaicaEye’ CCTV network as well as radio communication and dispatch equipment.

The Minister also advised that $600 million is budgeted to procure vehicles for the JDF, including armoured patrol carriers, while $1.8 billion will fund cybersecurity engagements for the JCF and JDF.

Meanwhile, Dr Clarke advised the House that the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) will continue to provide support to the current cohort of beneficiaries while preparations are undertaken to transition activities into the respective line Ministries by January 2021.