Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has revealed that the debt owed to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) for street lights has increased significantly over the last financial year.
Last year, it was reported that the government owed more than J$4 billion to the JPS, with more than $700 million being owed by the Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation.
Mr. McKenzie told the House of Representatives on Wednesday that more than a billion was paid over the last financial year; nevertheless the bill for that period was $2.8 billion.
“The reality (is) that between GCT on the payments and the balance brought forward from the last financial year, the debt to the Jamaica Public Service Company has risen to some $5.4 billion,” he reported.
Discussions were being held with the JPS “to look at how best to deal with the problem,” he said.
He told the House that the government remained committed to introducing a “smart “street light system.
“This system, when it comes into place will decrease the price of street lights to the country, and we are hoping to have an improved quality of public lighting across the country.”
McKenzie has also announced that the ministry will soon proceed with another audit of street lights in the Corporate Area.
The aim is to more accurately determine the number of defective street lights and the cost to the ministry, he said.