Picking apart one of the central highlights of Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s Budget presentation, Opposition Leader Mark Golding cast a Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) dividend of $33 billion as the fruit of an effective tax that has oppressed the poor.
The dividend is being paid out of the profits made by the BOJ in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The $33 billion is expected to be paid over to the Government in the first week of April and will be used to help fund the $60-billion Social and Economic Recovery and Vaccine Programme for Jamaica.
Golding, in his maiden presentation in that position, said more than half, or $17.9 billion, of the dividend, came from foreign-exchange trading and from net gains on the BOJ’s holdings of foreign-currency assets.
Golding said while Clarke told the country that only about 20 per cent of the central bank’s profits over the three years came from realised foreign exchange gains, he did not disclose that more than 30 per cent was linked to unrealised foreign exchange gains.