Julian Robinson will be critical of expenditure plan and public sector wage negotiation
The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is today (March 9) set to outline the parameters of its alternative national budget plan when its spokesman on finance, Julian Robinson, makes his contribution to the 2023-2024 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
The PNP has been making heavy weather of the $1-trillion 2023-2024 Budget, the first in Jamaica’s history. The party has been scathing in its criticism of the handling of the public sector wage negotiations in coming up with a new public sector compensation plan.
So far, a handful of public sector workers – among them the island’s teachers, police, and doctors – have not signed on to the plan, which is expected to be a main talking point for Robinson in his presentation.
Robinson will delve into the Estimates of Expenditure for financial year 2023-2024 and will seek to make out a case that the National Budget, as tabled by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke two weeks ago, is one for the rich and not for the poor.
Expectation is that Robinson will make reference to the Government issuing a licence for the importation of cannabis from Canada at a time when its own local industry has failed to take off, as expected when it was developed more than 10 years ago. He will also seek to highlight the missed opportunities by the Andrew Holness-led Administration and the bungling and mismanagement of a number of government programmes.
SLOW PACE OF ROADWORK
Up for mention is the South Coast Highway Improvement Programme, stretching from Harbour View in St Andrew to Port Antonio in Portland, where there have been demonstrations by residents of St Thomas about the road conditions and the slow pace of the work as executed by sub-contractors last year. These demonstrations prompted the intervention of the government and the main contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company.
The management of the financial sector, in particular the Stocks and Securities Limited multi-billion fraud saga and the investigations taking place thereof, will also come in for sharp focus by the Opposition finance spokesman.