JIS News

The Government and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, today (February 18), signed a US$10 million loan agreement for the second phase of rehabilitation works on four sections of roadways in three parishes.
The 47 kilometres of main road, some of which were designed under phase one of the project, include Ferris Cross to Mackfield in Westmoreland; Alexandria to Brown’s Town in St. Ann; Toms River to Broadgate in St. Mary; and Broadgate to Agualta Vale in St. Mary.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, explained that the loan period is 20 years, inclusive of a grace period of four years, with 32 semi-annual installments of the principal amount withdrawn and outstanding, and interest accrued after the date of the first withdrawal application.
“Of significance to the government and people of Jamaica, (is that) the interest rate that is payable on this loan, is 3.5 per cent per annum, on the principal amount, withdrawn and outstanding, payable on February 1 and August 1 in each year,” Mr. Shaw outlined.
This phase of the project will involve realignment works, rehabilitation of faded road sections, improvement in drainage and improvement in protection works.
The project components for the four road sections are: earthworks, foundation, layers, base course, and asphalt pavement, longitudinal and transversal drainage structures; consultancy service for the supervision of construction; and institutional support for the National Works Agency (NWA), including procurement of material testing laboratory equipment, hardware and software for mapping and project management systems.
Minister Shaw noted that Jamaica has already benefited from a series of loans under the fund, which began with an US$18 million loan for the construction of the Old Harbour Bypass.
Phase one of the road rehabilitation programme, he noted, had begun with a US$14 million loan agreement in March 2001, under which some 41 kilometres of priority roadways were identified for rehabilitation by the NWA. These included: the Spanish Town Bypass; Whitney Turn to Trinity in Manchester; Williamsfield to Greenvale (through Mandeville); Mandeville to Markpost; and Stony Hill to Toms River in St. Andrew.
In his statement on the agreement, Deputy Director General for Investment, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Ghanem Al-Ghenaiman noted that this is the Fund’s fourth loan agreement to the country. He informed that the Kuwait Fund began in 1961 and started assistance to the Caribbean in the 1990s. Since its inception, the Fund has committed 12 billion Kuwait dinars in loans to more than 100 countries around the world.
Meanwhile, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Joseph Hibbert, said that a recent assessment had shown that 65 to 70 per cent of the road network is in fair to poor condition. “We need to bring that up to a level where we are in reverse. I am particularly pleased to know that these roads have been selected in the manner that they have, because they are part of the cross-island linkages,” he said.

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