Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie says since the beginning of last year, there have been 18 fires at various markets across the country and it is costing the local authorities a lot of money.

He says over 150-million dollars worth of damage has been incurred because of what he says are deliberate acts of arson.

Mr McKenzie says there are no plans to divest the Musgrave Market in Portland as funding for its repair will be provided by the Ministry.

On May 28, fire broke out destroying the market and damaging nearby businesses.

He says investigations have ruled out arson as a possible cause of the fire, while adding that the market is insured and is in the process of being assessed by insurers.

He noted that based on the assessment, the Ministry and the Portland Municipal Corporation will engage with the affected vendors to ascertain what they think would be the best way out.

Mr McKenzie further disclosed that 10 million dollars was allocated to the Municipal Corporation to undertake clean-up exercises and provide temporary shelters for butchers, who were severely affected.