Jamaica — COVID-19 Robs Government Coffers Of $43.8 Billion

According to Jamaica’s Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, the COVID-19 pandemic has so far cost the government $43.8 billion.

Speaking in the House of Representatives earlier in the week, Dr. Clarke said $36.8 billion was spent on COVID-19 related non-debt expenditure.

“To date, COVID-19 related non-debt expenditure includes $2.6 billion in the Third Supplementary Estimates of 2019-20 that was advanced to the Ministry of Health. It includes $27.2 billion in the First Supplementary Estimates for the CARE program, for the Ministry of Health, which was about $6 billion, and amounts advanced to public bodies, whose revenues and activities were impacted – the Port Authority, the UDC, the NWC.”

Furthermore, Dr. Clarke noted that the non-debt expenditure covers $7 billion in the Secondary Supplementary Estimates allocated to areas that include the following: the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, the CARE program, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, which he said suffered from decline in revenue on account of lower activity, as well as COVID related expenditure for security forces and correctional services.

The Finance Minister said an increase in interest costs accounted for the other $7 billion in additional spending.

He was speaking as he tabled the Second Supplementary Estimates in which the government proposes to spend an additional $15.7 billion.

Overall, the government plans to spend $853.7 billion this fiscal year.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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