KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has said that the Government has made several notable accomplishments during the seven months it has been in power.
In highlighting some of these achievements during his opening Budget presentation in the House of Representatives Thursday (April 10), he cited several loan agreements have been signed with multilateral organizations.
“For years, I have spoken about accessing cheaper loans through the multilateral organizations. I have courted the Inter American Development Bank (IBD), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank, and we have begun the process of delivery,” Mr. Shaw said.
Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance and the Public Service
The Finance Minister also mentioned measures taken to ensure the collection of taxes, noting that the strategies employed have led to an increase in returns.
“The Government is serious about collecting its taxes in order to carry out its duties to the people of Jamaica. We have urged the people of Jamaica to voluntarily comply with paying their taxes in the past few months and subsequently, we have seen a significant increase in revenue in almost all tax types. In fact, it has allowed us to meet and exceed our target by over $2 billion,” Mr. Shaw said.
He noted further that the Net International Reserves has been replenished to US$2.08 billion and there has been a revaluation of the exchange rate.
Still on the economy, he also pointed out that a comprehensive audit of public sector operations has begun, starting with the commissioning of a diagnostic study on corruption and a forensic audit of the Financial Institutions Services Limited (FIS)/Financial Sector Adjustment Company Limited (FINSAC).
The Government has moved to address the increase in commodity prices on the global market, by introducing a price subsidy of $500 million to help offset the rising cost of basic food items.
In further highlighting the successes of the new Government, Mr. Shaw lauded the work of the Ministry of Transport and Works, especially in fixing potholes after serious flood rains.
He noted that the move to offer free tuition for public secondary school education and the removal of user fees at public health facilities on April 1, 2008, were successful ventures.
A Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) survey of Consumer and Business confidence for the first quarter of 2008, found that 75 per cent of all Jamaicans reported that the economy was average or better during the first quarter of the year.