JIS News

The Government of Jamaica and the European Commission on (Dec. 3) signed four financing agreements totaling 17.6 million euro (J$1.7 billion) through the 9th European Development Fund, to support four infrastructure and institutional strengthening projects.
The funds represent the final disbursement of the first financial protocol, which was created under the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)/ European Union (EU) Cotonou Agreement. These agreements will cover support to the road sector programme; rehabilitation of the Negril and Ocho Rios Waste Water Treatment Plants; a technical cooperation facility; and institutional strengthening for the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
At the signing, which took place at Jamaica House, Prime Minister, the Hon. Mr. Golding, who signed on behalf of the GoJ, said the agreement is part of the continuing very positive relationship between Jamaica and the European community. Of the sum, $1.225 billion (12.25 million euro) will go toward the road sector programme. Some 2.25 million euro of this will go toward institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Transport and Works, which Mr. Golding pointed out, has the responsibility of undertaking major civil works projects.
“It not just a question of going to contract, it’s a question of the design work, the surveys, the studies that have to be carried out to determine the cost effectiveness of these projects, to determine the best engineering solution, and therefore, the strengthening of that capacity within the Ministry is going to be critical”.
The remaining 10 million euro will encompass budget support, for, among other things, the weigh scale programme. Mr. Golding explained that this programme is critical because of the damage being done to road surfaces because of improper distribution of vehicle loads.
“It is going to be necessary to get that programme going and to enable the police, to be in a position where they see a vehicle that is obviously overweight, to direct that vehicle to an appropriate weigh scale, and if it is found that that vehicle is carrying more weight than its axle ratio allows, to ensure that the appropriate sanctions are enforced,” Prime Minister Golding elaborated.
Meanwhile, 3.03 million euro will be allocated to the rehabilitation of the Negril and Ocho Rios Wastewater Treatment Plant. The technical cooperation facility is a four-year project, which will be funded in the sum of 1.4 million euro to assist with the implementation and management of the GoJ/ EC cooperation programme by financing studies, the preparation of proposals and the review of the programme.
One million euros will go toward institutional strengthening of the PIOJ. Mr. Golding explained that, “the Planning Institute is essentially the nerve centre of all of these major projects. That’s where the initial assessments are done, (where) the initial project formulation is pulled together even before it gets to the sector Ministry, which is actually executes it. Of course, the Planning Institute is the primary interface between ourselves and our multilateral and in many instances, bilateral partners and therefore, strengthening their capacity is something that is important”.
In his remarks, Head of Delegation for the European Commission, Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi-Alemanni said the support to the road sector, which will receive the lion’s share of the funds, heralds the introduction of a tool that is meant to become the hallmark of the upcoming 10th European Development Fund.
He stressed that “this is something that is not envisaged by the European Union with any partner country, but just with those whose governments and financial management qualify them to graduate out of traditional slow-moving projects, within a donor recipient relationship, into a more mature rapport characterized by policy dialogue, on your agenda, translated into actual verifiable activity, against which financial support is released, to be used by your government according to its own priorities.
Since the Lome Convention started in 1975 the EU has provided some 740 euros to Jamaica in grants under the strategic umbrella of poverty reduction, covering the areas of rural development, agriculture, private sector development, infrastructure, and macroeconomic support, among others.
The Lome Convention is a trade and aid agreement between the European Union (EU) and 71 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries, designed to provide a new framework of cooperation between the then European Community (EC) and developing ACP countries, particularly former British, Dutch, Belgian and French colonies.

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