Gov’t Considers Selling JPS Shares to Clear Streetlight Debt

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), responds to a question during the meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament held on Wednesday (February 28). At left is Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Marsha Henry-Martin.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is giving consideration to selling some of its shares in the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in order to clear the debt owed to the company for streetlights.
  • Currently, the Government owes the JPS more than $7 billion for streetlights, while the National Water Commission (NWC) and other government agencies owe the company approximately $2 billion.
  • As it relates to paying future bills for street lights, Mr. Shaw said the Government is looking at having Jamaicans pay a small sum in their light bill.

The Government is giving consideration to selling some of its shares in the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in order to clear the debt owed to the company for streetlights.

This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, during the meeting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament held on Wednesday (February 28).

Currently, the Government owes the JPS more than $7 billion for streetlights, while the National Water Commission (NWC) and other government agencies owe the company approximately $2 billion.

“You can’t push it under the carpet; it has to be dealt with. So I have taken it on as Minister of Finance fully and looking at the various options that we have,” Mr Shaw said.

As it relates to paying future bills for street lights, Mr. Shaw said the Government is looking at having Jamaicans pay a small sum in their light bill.

“One of the options that we have is that we seek to put more street lights across the country… make it more comprehensive and at the same time, change the model by simply putting a small amount onto the bills to pay towards the street lights. That way, you settle it once and for all and the Government is not faced with a bill,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said the Government is engaged in an aggressive programme to install light-emitting diode (LED) street lamps across the country.

“This sharply reduces the amount of current that is used. We have already installed, across eight parishes, a total of 36,455 LED lights. The target was 35,000, and we have exceeded that,” Mr. Shaw noted.

There are a total of 105,000 streetlights across the country. Another 17,000 LED bulbs will be installed this year, and the remainder over the next two years.

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