KINGSTON — Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, has said that all the relevant information regarding the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) have been made accessible for perusal by the relevant groups, including opposition Members of Parliament.
“They don’t have to even write to me,” he said at a post-Budget press briefing held yesterday at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue head office in Kingston. “The PAC (Public Accounts Committee) Chairman has had the Ministry and the (National) Works Agency appear before them twice – that included the RMF (Road Maintenance Fund), the Ministry, the National Works Agency…we have given them everything that we have,” he said.
The Transport Minister told journalists that the Opposition does in fact have copies of the relevant documents that lay out how the programme is being financed, the criteria for the special buyer’s credit from the Export/Import Bank of China, as well as a list of the roads and bridges, which are to be rehabilitated across the island, under the initiative.
He said that in his Budget presentation on Wednesday, he gave details of the work being done under the programme but excluded some of the expenditure, as “that is an ongoing exercise. You could start a road at $3 million and you may have improved cost, fuel prices go up, cement prices go up. I leave that to the technocrats but what they got was the totality of the roads being done."
The Minister also informed that all the relevant information has been submitted to the Office of the Contractor General.
In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer, National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong, informed that the progress report on JDIP will be available at the agency’s website www.nwa.gov.jm, no later than May 31.
JDIP, which is being carried out over five years, started in 2010 with Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) as the contractor. The majority of the labour has been sub-contracted to local companies.
The NWA is the implementing agency for the programme, which is expected to create close to 7,000 jobs for Jamaicans.
Some $100 million has been allocated in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, to fund the programme in its second year. This is inclusive of works, which have been brought over from year one.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter