The National Works Agency (NWA) is projecting to spend $4.7 billion this fiscal year (2021/22) to undertake recurrent activities, which is a marginal increase over last year’s budget of $4.5 billion.
These activities include emergency repairs to roads, river-training activities, the cleaning of gullies, islandwide disaster mitigation, bridge development and construction, the maintenance of secondary roads as well as traffic management and control.
The projected capital budget is estimated at $17.4 billion, representing the amount currently required for works being undertaken on the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.
This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington, during his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 5.
The Minister noted that the Agency’s operational budget for this year is likely to be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
As it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Warmington said specific outcomes or consequences are not yet known, because the outcomes will largely be determined based on the terms of individual contracts as well as how the pandemic develops.
He said anticipated impacts will likely include claims for extension of time and price adjustments or fluctuation costs.
As it relates to the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which is predicted to be similarly active to that of 2020, the National Works Agency has proposed its annual Pre-Hurricane Mitigation Programme, valued at almost $101 million.
“The programme is one that is implemented annually in the months preceding the season, which starts on June 1 and which consists of the cleaning of critical drains and the debushing of identified corridors in a bid to prevent flooding and other adverse effects of persistent rainfall,” Mr. Warmington said.
He pointed out that the programme is designed on a constituency basis and will address critical drains in all 63 constituencies, adding that works on this programme will begin as soon as all the relevant approvals have been received.
“I again urge each and every Jamaican to own their little space and in the process help us to keep our drains and waterways clear of impediments. Jamaica is a beautiful island that does not need drains to be used as dumps and waterways to be robbed of naturally protective elements, which then put many lives at risk,” Mr. Warmington said.