KINGSTON — The Government is to hire an independent consultant, who will provide oversight for payments made under the Jamaica Infrastructure Development Programme (JDIP).
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday June 14, Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, said the decision was taken after meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Works, as well as the National Works Agency (NWA), which is the implementing agency for JDIP.
“I felt that there was need just because of the way I understand that (a) civil work project ought to be conducted…for an independent body to certify those payments and in certifying those payments, to verify that the payments being made are consistent with the work that has been done. I have asked the NWA to take steps to have such a firm or consultant put in place,” the Prime Minister said.
He informed that no final decision has been made to have the consultant examine payments made on other projects done in the past.
“I certainly didn’t contemplate that it would be retroactive because in that sense what you would need is an Auditor General kind of approach. It is going to be difficult to certify payments that already have been made. It is going to be challenging to validate payments that have been made for work that has been done in the past,” Mr. Golding said.
JDIP is a major undertaking by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) to significantly improve the island’s road network, enhance the quality of life of citizens and stimulate economic development.
The programme is the result of an innovative partnership between the governments of Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China, and is recognised as the largest, most comprehensive infrastructural initiative to be implemented in Jamaica.
The Government of China, through its Export Import (EXIM) bank, has made available US$400 million (approximately $36 billion) for the programme of works to be effected island-wide on roads, bridges, drains and traffic systems over a period of five years.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter