The Government is moving to settle a significant percentage of outstanding payments owed by the State on the multibillion dollar Northern Jamaica Development Project.
In this regard, $2.28 billion has been earmarked in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, currently being reviewed by Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee, to execute the undertaking.
Just over $2 billion of the amount has been set aside as part payment for the project contractor’s claim.
The Northern Jamaica Development Project, which was undertaken between 1991 and 2000, entailed significant infrastructural development along Jamaica’s north coast. This included 268 kilometres of roadway between Negril, Westmoreland and Port Antonio, Portland, at a cost of over $35 billion.
It also entailed resettlement of over 500 persons, inclusive of property owners with whom the government negotiated the procurement of some 970 parcels of land to facilitate the development.
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing will spearhead the process to execute the payments to stakeholders in the respective segments where the development was carried out.
Of the $2.28 billion, some $25 million will be used to continue payments for land acquired and related consultancy services, for segment one, between Negril and Montego Bay.
Another $55 million has been similarly earmarked for segment 2a (section one), from Montego Bay to Greenside (Trelawny), while $55 million has been set aside to effect settlements for segment two, from Greenside to Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Some $46 million has also been earmarked for payments to stakeholders in segment three, between Ocho Rios and Fair Prospect. Funding has been provided by the Government, European Union (EU), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF).
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter