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Finance Minister says JPS threatening to apply $5b interest to outstanding streetlights payments

Published:Wednesday | March 1, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Audley Shaw

Finance Minister Audley Shaw has revealed that the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has threatened to apply interests to the $5 billion the Government owes the company in streetlight payments.

So Shaw says the Government has to quickly work out a plan to settle its debt.

According to the Finance Minister, a formula is being worked out because if the interest is applied, interests on the outstanding debt would see the government paying out more than anticipated.

However, he did not give a timeline on when the talks with the JPS were expected to end.

Shaw made the disclosure during yesterday’s deliberations by a parliamentary committee on the proposed budget for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

Last month, local government officials released documents to a parliamentary committee showing that the Government owes the JPS approximately $5 billion for streetlight.

Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Ministry, Denzil Thorpe, however, said starting June, a programme led by the JPS will begin that will see the 105,000 streetlights replaced with energy-saving LED lamps.

That programme is to run over three years and is expected to significantly reduce costs.