Business

Clarke explains extra $2.5B for JUTC in supplementary budget

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 14, 2018

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SINCE the beginning of 2018/19, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has made four separate requests to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service for additional financial support.

In response to the latest request, the government has included $2.5 billion in the recently approved Supplementary Estimates to help the company meet its expenses.

According to Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, the $2.505 billion granted this year will be used as follows:

(1) Settlement of outstanding fuel obligations to Johnson's Petroleum, and additional working capital support;

(2) Final payment on a Bank of Nova Scotia loan of $248,000,000 due on March 15, 2019;

(3) Operational costs, including fuel, toll charges, tyres, lubricants and maintenance for the remainder of the 2018/19;

(4) A Fleet Management System which is currently being piloted and which, when implemented will, among other things, provide real time and historical vehicle tracking, real time camera footage and audio, monitor fuel consumption, idling, speeding braking, and provide fare box security using an Automatic Passenger Counter;

(5) A bypass filtration system, which is also being tested, will reduce the JUTC's expenditure on maintenance;

(6) A bus refurbishing programme will allow the JUTC to rehabilitate buses at a fraction of the cost of a new bus, thereby extending the life of older buses in the fleet, while meeting the standards for safety and reliability. The buses being targeted are the Mann and articulated Volvo buses.

The government has also included in the estimates some $7.3 billion for spending on the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MDIP), which replaced Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) in 2012.

The National Works Agency (NWA) estimates that the value of the works for 2018/19 will be $19.3 billion, $7.335 billion more than allocated in the original budget for 2018/19.

Clarke said that, given the need to complete the major works underway in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) in the shortest possible time, in order to alleviate the current delays being experienced on the roads, the required $7.335 billion has been accommodated in the estimates.

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