JIS News

Beginning next month, public sector pensioners will receive an increase in their pensions. According to Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman the pension increase will cost the government some $200 million, and will benefit several categories of former government employees.
Minister Whiteman, who was speaking at the year’s first post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday (January 10), revealed that beneficiaries would include, “persons who have been pensioners for at least two and a half years as at July 1, 2004; persons who are 55 years or older at July 1, 2004; persons retired on the grounds of ill health prior to that date, regardless of age; widows, widowers and dependents of deceased government employees; and persons in the (aforementioned) categories whose salary was not above the level of $50,000 at July 1, 2004.”
He told journalists that the exact amount of the increase to be paid to pensioners would depend on the level of pensions they were previously receiving. “The new rates will be paid as of next month,” he said, adding that in regard to retroactive amounts, pensioners could apply for those monies after February, but cautioned that this was dependent on certain developments in the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
Senator Whiteman further advised that another matter that the Cabinet had deliberated on, was the provision of funding for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and energy policy-related projects.
He said following on the agreement that the government of Trinidad and Tobago would supply 1.15 million tonnes of LNG to Jamaica, “Cabinet directed that the Cabinet Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology should examine ways of funding the energy policy unit up to the end of the second quarter of the pending financial year”.
Additionally, he said, the three government officers should initiate “the process of establishing appropriate arrangements for the provision of the required Government of Jamaica equity contribution in the LNG project”.
He explained that the project would involve capital costs and was dependent on the equity arrangements on the part of the Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaican governments.
Minister Whiteman said the 1.15 million tonnes of LNG per annum was expected to primarily, meet the requirements of JAMALCO and its expansion phase, and the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited as another source of energy production.

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