By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 13) approved the withdrawal of $255.69 million from the Capital Development Fund (CDF) to provide budgetary support to Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) for the 2021/22 financial year.
Minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke said the JBI was established by the government in 1975 as a regulatory planning and development agency to manage the sovereign aspects of the government’s participation in the bauxite alumina industry.
Dr Clarke said the JBI is responsible for monitoring and studying the alumina industry and advising the government on matters pertaining to the industry, locally and internationally, and that; the organisation is primarily funded from levies on the bauxite industry through the Capital Development Fund.
“The JBI’s primary operations are not revenue-generated activities. Accordingly, on establishment it was understood at that time and has continued to be the practice that the CDF will be the main source from which the JBI is funded,” he stated.
The minister noted that over the years, the JBI has expanded its operations to include the provision of laboratory services on a commercial basis to generate some revenue. “However, the revenues generated from the provision of these services are insufficient to entirely finance the Institute’s operations. The JBI projects to generate income of $28.56 million from operations during the fiscal year 2021/22,” Dr Clarke said.
“This is inadequate to meet the budgeted operating cost of $284.97 million. The support from the CDF is, therefore, critical to allow the JBI to fund its operations for the 2021/22 financial year,” he added.
The JBI has been granted budgetary support totalling approximately $1.1 billion from the CDF over the five years 2016/17 to 2020/21. This support increased from $211 million in 2016/17 to $244 million in 2020/21.
The balance in the CDF as at May 31, 2021, was $1.677 billion. This amount was also included in the approved Jamaica public bodies estimates of revenue expenditure for the year ending March 2021.
“We are committed to only withdraw from the CDF in line with the Bauxite Production Levy Act to facilitate the budgetary support of the JBI, as was contemplated when the JBI was formed,” Dr Clarke said.