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Local contractors stand to benefit from the implementation of road and bridge projects under the US$350 million Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), being undertaken by the Government.

Scheduled to begin this financial year and end in 2016, the programmes covers the rehabilitation of 430 kilometres of prioritised roads; upgrading or reconstruction of 27 critical bridges, retaining walls and other protective works; and complete sub-projects started under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).

Opening the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 7, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, informed that local contractors will be allocated projects with a total value of US$130 million, of which US$80 million will be supervised by the National Works Agency (NWA), and US$50 million through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).

[RELATED: CHEC to Invest US$1.5 Billion in Port and Other Facilities]

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will be given responsibility for major projects up to a value of US$220 million.

He further pointed out that CHEC will utilize Jamaican sub-contractors and a selection of the projects in each category will be made known to Parliament.

The Minister informed that due to restrictions placed on this year’s budget only $2.5 billion will be allocated to the project.

“The Minister of Finance and I have discussed the implication of this capped amount in the first year and have agreed that, in the next two fiscal years, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, the amount allocated to MIDP will be significantly increased,” Dr. Davies said.

MIDP is being funded with a loan from the China Ex-Im Bank valued at US$300 million and a contribution of approximately US$50 million from the Government of Jamaica (GOJ).

[RELATED: 37,000 Persons Benefit from JEEP]

The undertaking is a departure from the JDIP, which was implemented by the previous administration and has now ended.

Dr. Davis explained that whereas JDIP was routed through the Road Maintenance Fund, the new project was deliberately placed in Capital B of the Estimates of Expenditure.

“Another clear difference between the two projects is the amount to be paid to China Harbour for supervision of the projects, which will be undertaken by local contractors. A major issue of concern with JDIP was that China Harbour was paid 25 per cent of the value of those projects, which they were not directly implementing. This supervisory management fee for MIDP projects has been capped at 12½ per cent of the value of contracts,” Dr. Davies said.

Contact: Andrea Braham