KINGSTON, May 10, CMC – Two months behind schedule, the Portia Simpson administration is to deliver its first budget and outline a legislative agenda on Thursday during the State Opening of Parliament at Gordon House, the seat of the national legislature in the heart of the capital.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen is to deliver the Throne Speech in which he will outline the government’s programmes and policies for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which began on April 1.
The parliamentary set piece was delayed this year to make way for the government’s on-going negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In its fifth month in office after winning the December 29 elections, the administration is also expected to unveil the 2012-2013 Budget. Observers say the government is expected to call on Jamaicans to brace for further spending cuts.
A slash in capital spending is being forecast as the administration tightens its grip on the country’s coffers after failing to meet its 2011-2012 revenue target and amid signs that the economy will remain sluggish.
Later Thursday, Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips will table the Estimates of Expenditure in Parliament.
The Standing Finance Committee of the House will meet to consider the Estimates from May 15 to 17 after which the Budget Debate will begin on May 24 with Phillips’s presentation.
Opposition spokesman on finance Audley Shaw is scheduled to speak on May 29, to be followed the next day by a government minister and an Opposition spokesman, and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness on May 31. Prime Minister Simpson Miller is to respond on June 5.
The State Opening of Parliament usually takes place in late March or early April, but Holness has insisted that the government’s delay will have serious implications for the economy.