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The Ministry of Water and Housing’s Low Income Housing Project is to benefit from a US$71.2 million loan from the Government of China.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica, which falls under the Ministry, will have direct responsibility for the project.
Managing Director of the Agency, Mr. Joseph Shoucair, told journalists at Thursday’s (February 18) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, that the loan will be used to build and complete some 3,582 low income housing solutions in St. Ann and St. Elizabeth over a three to four-year period, commencing April 1.
“It will see to the completion of two unfinished schemes, at Belle Air and Mount Edgecombe in St. Ann, and provide full infrastructure and regularisation of the informal settlement at Belle Air II, which is 415 lots. It will also see to the construction of 1,500 new serviced lots and 775 new houses in St. Elizabeth and St. Ann. It will, all together, improve the residential status and quality of 25,000 people (and) will employ some 3,000 people directly and impact another 6,000,” Mr. Shoucair outlined.
The Managing Director informed that the loan is repayable over a 20-year period, with a five-year moratorium on principal repayments. He disclosed that the Chinese state agency, China COMPLANT, would be the main contractor, adding that there would be local contractors involved as well.
Mr. Shoucair pointed out that China COMPLANT undertook construction of the Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny in 2007, which was utilised during the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket World Cup tournament, staged in the Caribbean that year. He further advised that the entity was currently undertaking construction of the Montego Bay Conference Centre.
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who also spoke at the briefing, advised that the loan was negotiated between the Governments of Jamaica and China during a recent visit to that country by a delegation, headed by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding.