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Montague says govít should fire consultants, fund SLB
2012-11-09 13:42:28 | (0 Comments)
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
Opposition Senator Robert Montague - File
Calling the Government anti-poor and heartless, Opposition Senator Robert Montague today said the administration should fire all its consultants and advisors and divert the saving to the Studentsí Loan Bureau (SLB).
Montague, who was contributing to the State of the Nation debate in the Senate, said the fact that the Government failed to make the necessary provision in the Budget for the funding of tertiary education is an indication it does not care about the poor.
A total of 98 consultants have been engaged by the Portia Simpson Miller-led government at a cost of more than $255 million since the administration took power in December.
The former Bruce Golding administration paid out at least $190 million to consultants in ministries compared with the $127 million by the previous PNP administration, which left power in 2007.
Montague says it is a shame that more than 5,000 students are facing de-registration because they are unable to pay fees, or because the SLB does not have funds to disburse to tertiary institutions.
A recent study of the SLB by PricewaterhouseCoopers made it clear that the challenge confronting the lending agency will require key policy decisions that can only be addressed by the Government of Jamaica in consultation with its various stakeholders.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, at a recent Jamaica House briefing, indicated that the Government would be examining a number of studies in relation to the SLB in the near future.
Similarly, Monica Brown, executive director of the SLB, told a parliamentary oversight committee that the bureau was struggling to make disbursements, on behalf of students, to tertiary institutions.
She said for the academic period 2012-2013, the institution was facing a significant challenge to meet the $4.2 billion to be disbursed to the universities and colleges.
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Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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