Country Listing

Caribbean Islands Table of Contents

Caribbean Islands


Total government expenditures in 1985 were estimated to have reached US$823 million or nearly 40 percent of GDP at current prices. If debt servicing was excluded from expenditures, they equaled only 22.5 percent of GDP. Current account expenditures totalled US$591 million or 72 percent of the total; thus, a rather high percentage of the Jamaican budget was dedicated to recurrent expenditures. The capital account in 1985 amounted to US$232 million, or 28 percent of total expenditures. More expansionary and politically oriented budgets in the late 1980s were expected to increase the capital account's share of the budget to over 30 percent.

The government's current and capital accounts were divided into general services, social and community services, economic services, and miscellaneous services. Sixty-one percent of current account expenditures were devoted to general services; two-thirds of that total were interest payments, followed by payments for administrative services, police, defense, justice, and prisons. Social and community services (comprising education, health, social security, housing, and water) represented 29.7 percent of current account expenditures and economic services made up 6.5 percent. The remaining 2.4 percent consisted of miscellaneous services, all of which were grants to local government.

The distribution of capital expenditures changed markedly in the 1980s as compared with previous decades, primarily as a result of the increasingly unmanageable national debt. Fifty percent of all capital expenditures in 1985 fell under general services, of which over 90 percent went to repay the principal of the public debt and other fiscal services. Economic services accounted for 39 percent of capital expenditures. The largest share of economic services was destined for industry and commerce, followed by agriculture, roads, transport and communications, and natural resource development. Eleven percent of capital expenditures were devoted to social and community services, primarily for school facilities, health centers, water systems, and housing. This pattern of expenditure was in sharp contrast to the situation in the 1960s and 1970s, when lower debt repayment had allowed the Jamaican government to emphasize physical infrastructure development.

Data as of November 1987