Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Gov’t sets aside $2 billion to pay down debt to health sector suppliers

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 1:52 PM
Clarke said that with the onset of COVID-19, costs have increased due to greater demand for a range of items to address the pandemic. He said that from the dividends that the government received from the Bank of Jamaica, an allocation of $2 billion was made to deal specifically with the sums owing by the health ministry.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, says the Government has allocated $2 billion to begin to pay down on the $5.8 billion that is owing to suppliers in the health sector.

Of the $5.8 billion, $3.4 billion is owed to businesses for more than 90 days.

Further, the National Works Agency owes $716 million to suppliers and contractors.

Opposition spokesman on finance, Julian Robinson, who was quizzing his government counterpart at a meeting of the Standing Finance Committee now under way at Gordon House, said that many small businesses are owed by the government and were facing serious cash flow problems and could be forced into bankruptcy.

Responding to the concerns, Clarke said that with the onset of COVID-19, costs have increased due to greater demand for a range of items to address the pandemic.

He said that from the dividends that the government received from the Bank of Jamaica, an allocation of $2 billion was made to deal specifically with the sums owing by the health ministry.

Clarke also said that payments would be made from the 2021/22 budget beginning in April to address the other arrears.

He said that the government would be prioritising payments to small suppliers, noting that delayed payments had an impact on their cash flows.

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