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PNP urges prime minister to stop $700m purchase by USF

Julian Robinson

The People's National Party (PNP) is calling for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to stop the Universal Service Fund (USF) from spending $700 million in two years to purchase a property to house its corporate office.    
   
Plans for the purchase are contained in the Jamaica Public Bodies document tabled last Thursday.
  
Julian Robinson, Opposition Spokesman on Information, has taken issue with the expenditure, saying the money is being used for something that is not within the core activities of the USF.

"You have many communities in Jamaica, that don't have access to the internet, that would love to have a computer lab in there community centre. There are kids that would like to participate in the tablets in schools project, and to spend $700 million on an office, represents, in my view, a betrayal of trust and a misuse of what the money is intended to be spent on," he asserted.

He said the Universal Service Fund's corporate office project would represent the second largest capital investment in the organization's budget for 2017/2018.
   
The Universal Service Fund was created in 2006, and is financed through a tax on incoming phone calls to Jamaica. It earns $1.4 billion annually, and is mandated to ensure that all Jamaicans have access to the internet.



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