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Caring for Jamaica Through a Fiscally Responsible Budget  

Caring for Jamaica Through a Fiscally Responsible Budget  

“We will leverage our economic stability to usher in the largest ever period of public investment designed to address the problems experienced by Jamaicans every day.”

– Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance, and the Public Service. 


The Jamaican government is listening. That is the message being sent by the measures announced to stimulate economic growth and further ease economic burdens. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the budget as one to build a caring economy.

In opening the 2024/2025 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 12) Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Honourable Nigel Clarke, announced a series of initiatives to enhance the lives of Jamaican citizens while remaining fiscally prudent so as not endanger the Jamaican economy.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Holness, supported by the economic management of Minister Nigel Clarke, Jamaica has been able to present a budget of with no new taxes for 7 consecutive years. This has been possible due to the government’s emphasis on growth and economic stability even in the face of global challenges and external shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and inflation.

The 2024 budget features key announcements totalling 1.3 trillion JMD including:

  • The Removal of guarantors for students applying to the Students’ Loan Bureau.  Beginning April 1, 2024, the Student Loan Bureau will no longer require guarantors for students to access tertiary financing from the Student Loan Bureau. This enables citizens of low socio-economic background who are unable to get guarantors, access to tertiary education loan.
  • In addition, the government has made available 4,200 grants of 60,000 JMD each to low-income applicants.
  • To support this initiative one billion JMD has been moved to the guarantor reserve fund.
  • Tax payers who earn less than 1.5 million JMD will receive a reverse tax credit of 20,000 JMD at the end of the financial year.
  • The income tax threshold has been increased from 1.5 million JMD to 1.7 million JMD annually. Meaning if someone earns 1.7 million JMD or less, they will pay no income tax and for those earning above 1.7 million JMD, the first 1.7 million JMD will not be taxed.
  • General Consumption Tax (GCT) has been removed from imported raw food items including fruits and vegetables, making these products more affordable for Jamaicans.
  • Annual Pension Exemption and Age Relief Exemption has been increased from 80,000 JMD to 250,000 JMD each, for a combined total of half a million dollars of additional relief for our seniors.
  • The threshold for duties (de minimis value) for imported items has been increased from  50 USD to 100 USD.
  • Effective April 1, 2024 the passenger duty free threshold for personal/household effects not imported for sale or commercial exchange will be increased from 500 USD to 1000 USD at the port.
  • 120 million JMD has been allocated for the rehabilitation of entertainment zones in Fort Rocky and Jam World allowing 24 hours entertainment.
  • 882 million JMD has been allocated for the Westmoreland Police Divisional Headquarters
  • 2.6 billion JMD has been allocated for the acquisition of 100 JUTC buses.
  • 990 million JMD has been allocated for the St. Catherine Police Divisional Headquarters.
  • 900 million JMD is allocated for the acquisition of 50 garbage trucks among other announcements.

Prime Minister Holness emphasizes that these measures represent a balance of responsiveness and responsible governance, breaking the trend of fiscal mismanagement that has plagued Jamaica and was a feature of past administrations. The Prime Minister noted that the government’s macroeconomic stability has paved the way for initiatives such as an unemployment insurance scheme to benefit Jamaican workers.

The government is also streamlining processes to enhance productivity, including the abolition of the sector committee to expedite the procurement process and increase the pace of service delivery.

Jamaica celebrates a milestone of 10 quarters of consecutive economic growth, with a higher labour participation rate than many comparable countries. Prime Minister Holness says this government is committed to delivering for all Jamaicans.