JIS News

The Standing Finance Committee of Parliament yesterday (April 7) voted against a motion submitted by Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw to increase the allocation for fire services in the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport’s budget by $637 million.
During the sitting at Gordon House, Local Government Minister Portia Simpson-Miller indicated that the Jamaica Fire Brigade board might have to take the decision to cut staff and close fire stations. The fire service has taken on 107 recruits, increasing salaries by almost $5 million monthly.
“If we are not able to pay the present complement, although we are short, then the Brigade will have to take some serious decisions,” Mrs. Simpson-Miller stated. Based on calculations put forward by Mr. Shaw following questions on the various allocations, and expenditure for the department, funds available for the compensation of employees was short by $230 million, while the allocation for travel expenses and subsistence fell short of $70 million.
In addition he said, the budget for the rehabilitation of fire vehicles needed approximately $75 million more and another $12 million was needed for the acquisition of firefighting equipment. An additional $337 million would be needed to suffice the repair to fire stations.

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