EOJ gets its $1.7b for local gov’t polls
With local government elections due by the end of February next year, the Andrew Holness-led administration has allocated $1.7 billion to the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) to conduct the polls when called.
This represents the sum requested by the EOJ, as reported by The Gleaner earlier this month.
The figure represents a 70 per cent increase in the budget submitted for approval in December 2021 when it was expected that the well-overdue polls would have been held in February 2022.
At the same time, $420 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to carry out several projects.
The Government has pumped in $100 million for the clean-up of town centres and another $120 million for indigent housing.
In the Third Supplementary Estimates, $200 million is set aside for rehabilitation of community roads and $120 million for indigent housing while $60 million goes to the trucking of water.
The needy are expected to receive additional support with $200 million allocated to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the provision of compassionate grants.
Another $260 million has gone to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for farm roads and trucking of water.
Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke yesterday tabled the Third Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure which see an increase in spending of $58.2 billion. This increases the overall budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year to $1,094.38 billion.
Financing for the Third Supplementary Estimates is programmed from a projected increase in revenue and grants by $43.1 billion comprised primarily of increases in tax revenue of $35.8 billion, non-tax revenue of $6.1 billion and grants of $1.0 billion.
Clarke said additional loan receipts will provide financing for the increases below the line.
The Government has allocated $480 million to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, of which $400 million is for social housing and $80 million to support the trucking of water by the National Water Commission to drought-stricken areas.
The finance minister pointed out that the net increase of $37.2 billion on compensation of employees reflects the allocation of $54.5 billion to this category to address the second year implementation of the compensation restructure.
It will also provide amounts to address arrears related to the first year of the compensation restructure; and amounts for the NCTVET and VTDI agencies that have been transferred from HEART Trust/NSTA to the Ministry of Education and Youth.
Clarke pointed out that $18.1 billion of the $54.5 billion was included in the approved Budget under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and is therefore now being reallocated to various ministries, departments and agencies.