KINGSTON — The Government has budgeted an additional $750 million in support for the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF).
In his Budget Debate presentation in Parliament Tuesday April 28, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw said this will ensure the financing of 15 per cent down payment on US$100 million for expenditure under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) during the last financial year.
This allocation to the RMF is in addition to the 20 per cent fuel cess of $1.3 billion, and the proceeds of the motor vehicle licences of some $738 million, he said.
Mr. Shaw explained that the JDIP is being implemented by the RMF, to facilitate improvements to the roads and to foster economic growth and development. He also disclosed that another $800 million has been set aside to finance interest costs on the JDIP and PetroCaribe loans, as well as administrative and routine road maintenance by the RMF.
He pointed out that the main areas of focus for the JDIP, this fiscal year, will include the rehabilitation of 120 main and parochial roads, and the patching of 200,000 square metres of roadway, as well as12 new bridges, rehabilitation of seven housing schemes roadways and installation of 17 modular bridges.
He noted that projects under the JDIP are designed by the National Works Agency (NWA), and are expected to be executed over 5 years, costing US$400 million.
“Eighty-five per cent, or US$340 million of the costs, will be provided as a loan from the China Export Import Bank (China EXIM) and 15 per cent (US$60 million) from the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on fuel,” he said.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter