AMENDED: Government arrears affecting operations at Blood Bank
The Opposition spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw, is alleging that the level of arrears in the health sector has led to the Blood Bank being out of reagents.
Speaking during the sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament on December 3, Shaw said the issue raises major questions about the ability of the ministry to fight the outbreak of diseases.
Shaw said the health ministry reportedly has arrears in the region of $7 billion.
The PAAC was reviewing the First Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year.
During the sitting Shaw said he would be raising the matter during the debate on the estimates next week.
Loris Jarrett, a deputy financial secretary, said steps are being taken to manage the arrears.
Under Jamaica's agreement with the International Monetary Fund the country has committed to not allow arrears to exceed 90 days.
Jarrett says for the most part the country has been sticking to the agreement.
Chief Economist, Economic Policy Coordination and Development Planning stated that $11 billion had been transferred from the Contingency Provision of the Ministry of Finance to reallocate to specific ministries, departments and agencies in support of various compensation-related payments arising from wage agreements that had been reached with various bargaining groups.
*A previous version of this story had incorrectly referenced Everton McFarlane as Deputy Financial Secretary. It also did not clearly state the purpose of the $11 billion allocation.
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