Govt using tax revenue surplus to pay arrears to SMEs — Clarke

Monday, January 21, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke says that a “plethora” of small- and medium-sized businesses will benefit from an allocation of $1.5 billion included in the supplementary estimates for 2018/19 for bills owed to them by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Dr Clarke told the Mayberry Investment Limited's (MIL) first monthly investors forum for 2019 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday that the Government is making sure to pay these bills because of the catalytic effect it will have on the economy.

“As the Government reduces its arrears and in fact starts pumping oxygen into the system by paying its overdue bills, then these businesses will have the cash flow to make better decisions; they can make more investments, and so forth, and you end up with a virtuous cycle,” he said.

“So, we are focusing on paying off the arrears, but it doesn't stop there,” Dr Clarke continued.

As he explained it, the Government has already allocated $7 billion in the First Supplementary Estimates to pay off some of the arrears owed to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to ensure that the country's streetlights are fixed. JPS had committed to fixing 12,000 of these lights by March, with another 6,000 scheduled to be addressed by December.

Clarke noted that $1 billion had also been allocated to the National Health Fund (NHF) to pay off some of its arrears, and $700 million to the National Water Commission (NWC) to cover outstanding bills owed by Government's MDAs.

The Jamaica Urban transit Company (JUTC) has been allocated $10.5 million to meet its operating expenses; the Montego Bay Metro Limited allocated $30.7 million for operating expenses; and the Spectrum Management Authority $325 million to cover repayment from the sale of a licence.

“So the increased economic activity that we are seeing is generating increased revenues that are being used in a way to ensure that the cycle continues, and the benefits are spread wide,” said Clarke.

— Balford Henry

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon