KINGSTON — The Jamaica Defence Force has been reeling from the effects of government austerity in the midst of the current economic crisis, a submission to Parliament on the force’s expenditure for the past six months has revealed.
In the submission to Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, which has been looking at the performance of government ministries, departments and agencies over the first six months of 2012/13, the JDF said that, while it is cognisant of the fiscal challenges within the public sector, and has tried to work within the parameters of its budget, there are “inescapables” such as fuel and food that, if not sufficiently funded, and if the force is to continue operating at the rate required by the country, the lack of funds will lead to a rise in its debt stock.
The JDF said that given current consumption levels which are impacted by deployment and rising costs, it will require additional fiscal support to meet these obligations.
The JDF requested $300 million this year to cover costs associated with preparing meals for its personnel deployed on operations and training, but only $261 million was approved. Additional funding is now being sought to meet the need.
Owing $300m. for fuel
On the subject of the provision of funds to pay for fuel, the JDF said while it requested $394 million for petrol and lubricants, only $258 million was approved in the budget. The result is that the JDF currently owes Petrojam Limited close to $300 million for fuel provided by the government-owned refinery.
The JDF uses about $30 million per month for fuel, broken down as follows: 214,000 litres of diesel; 43,000 litres of gasoline; and 34,000 litres of Jet A1.
The JDF admitted that its recurrent budget is already exhausted, due to current consumption levels, unscheduled operations and inflationary pressures. (Observer)