Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, says he will be requesting that some US$300 million be set aside in the 2011/12 Budget to fund the continuation of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
The five-year programme is being funded by a loan of US$400 million from the Export/Import Bank of China. A sum of US$60 million has been allocated in the 2010/11 budget for the road project.
Mr. Henry, who was providing an update on the project during a media briefing at his offices in Kingston on Tuesday (January 18), said based on the scope of work that is to be completed, the Ministry is hoping to receive the majority of the funds.
"We have made our request. As you know, budget call is on right now, the Cabinet goes into retreat next weekend and therefore, we will be making our request for the fiscal space. I would ask them to give me between US$250 million and US$300 million and I think that the urgent needs of the roadways demand that kind of approach,” he said.
"This is a production year; this is a growth year that we’re coming up to and you can only grow if you only begin to build and rebuild the infrastructure," he stated.
Up to the end of December last year, projects had already started in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James, St. Catherine, St. Mary and Clarendon.
The Minister also informed that a large portion of the programme will also be rolled out this month in other parishes.
Major components of the programme include road rehabilitation, periodic maintenance, river training, and the construction and rehabilitation of bridges.
In the meantime, the Transport Minister informed that the cost of the programme may have to be revised, in light of the heavy rains, which scoured northeastern parishes on the weekend.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS