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JIS News

The National Water Commission (NWC) should benefit from an agreement currently being negotiated between the Government of Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China for the supply of pipes and other equipment to complete rehabilitative and expansion works to the island’s water supply systems.
Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, who is spearheading the negotiations on behalf of the Government, led a seven-member delegation to China last week, which included Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Genefa Hibbert and the Opposition Spokesperson on Water, Shahine Robinson.
Several NWC officials also form part of the delegation. These representatives are Chairman of the Board, Richard Byles; NWC Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer, Franklyn Williams; Vice President for the Western Division, Florence Logan and Legal Counsel, Gawain Forbes.
In an interview with JIS News, Charles Buchanan, Corporate Communications Manager at the NWC informed that the objective of the trip is to continue talks started when the Chinese Vice President, His Excellency Zeng Qinghong visited the island earlier this year.
“The main purpose of the trip is to advance further discussions and sign documents relating to agreements between the Government of Jamaica, more specifically, the National Water Commission, and some Government authorities in China, including the Export-Import Bank of China as well as some discussions with the China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Co-operation,” he said.
Continuing, Mr. Buchanan noted that the talks would facilitate the NWC being able to procure significant pieces of equipment on concessionary terms from these entities. The equipment would be used to facilitate the improvement and expansion of programmes already underway throughout the island.
“We have previously had very good agreements with the Chinese Government that has, in the past, facilitated the National Water Commission’s procurement of massive amounts of a variety of size pipes, which we have used as part of our expansion and improvement of our water supply distribution network across the island,” Mr. Buchanan informed.
However, this trip also provides an excellent opportunity for the NWC to stock up on critical spare parts.
“The National Water Commission has to maintain a sizeable stock of pipes of different diameters and types, and this would form an important part of that stock of pipes, which we’ll have on hand, in addition to enabling us to proceed with a number of projects we have already earmarked and designed,” he added.Minister Buchanan and the other members of the delegation are scheduled to return to the island on Wednesday, August 24.