Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Fiscal Expenditure on Services for Children in Jamaica
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
URL http://www.unicef.org/jamaica/Budget_for_Children.pdf
This study has been commissioned by the Government of Jamaica and UNICEF to
determine the share of the budge
t of the Government of Jama
ica that benefits children
directly, and indirectly through women in thei
r roles as care-givers. It has been based
on a review of relevant st
udies and reports, data extr
acted from the government’s
budget, and interviews with government officer
s with appropriate expertise. The data
has been presented in an array that high
lights the expenditure on children, and forms
the basis for the calculation of indi
cators of expenditure on children.
The study has reviewed the al
location of fiscal resources
to provide services to and
for children in the years 2003/4-2005/6. In
doing so, it has situated the assessment in
the context of the fiscal resource constraints
that result from the relatively low level of
GDP, the persistent low rate of economic
growth, and the pre-empting of the major
share of the fiscal resources for
repayment of the national debt.
The trends in the principal macroeconomic
indicators have been
generally pointing to
positive changes in the performance of the economy. The trade regime has been
considerably liberalized, and the reform pr
ocesses are continuing. Foreign investment
inflows have been robust in re
cent years. The foreign exch
ange market has been quite
orderly with gradual and predic
table depreciation of the exchange rate to maintain the
price competitiveness of exports. Inflati
on has abated, and this has allowed the
government to facilitate the
decline in interest rates.
Yet, apart from Tourism that has been on a
secular growth path, the development of
new exports to fill the earnings gaps left by the receding banana and sugar industries
has been very slow.
The economy has grown slowly desp
ite the liberalization of trade
and investment flows, while becoming incr
easingly vulnerable to sudden shifts in
international economic conditions as
well as natural hazards.
While unemployment rates are not as high as
they were a decade or two ago, it is
partly because of the rise in self-employment and the withdrawal from the formal
labour markets to informal economic activities
. Poverty rates too
have declined over
the past two decades, owing in large part
to the vibrancy of the informal economic
activities and the robustness of inflows of remittances.
The slow growth of the formal economy
underpins the slow grow
th of the fiscal
revenues. The repayment of the national
debt leaves little
resources to fund
programmes for human and infr
astructural development.

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