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NROCC loses $6.5b

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter

Friday, June 23, 2017

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National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC), the public company which represents Jamaica's interest under the concession agreement for Highway 2000, lost of more than $6.5 billion in 2015/16.

In its latest report tabled in Parliament, NROCC's board of directors reported a loss of $6,584,389,000 for the financial year ended March 31, 2016.

The board also noted that NROCC continued to have no revenues, as shown in the five-year financial review.

The report's tabling in the House of Representatives on June 13 followed reminders that negotiations are underway between the Government and operators of Highway 2000 East-West over the annual rate increases, which are due on the first Saturday of July each year.

According to sources, there will be a 10 per cent hike for all classes of vehicles using the Portmore Toll Road, the Spanish Town Vineyards and May Pen legs of Highway 2000, all built by French developer Bouygues Travaux Publics.

This increase could see class one vehicles, which include motor cars and some small SUVs, paying $220 to use the Portmore Toll Road; $160 at the Spanish Town Toll Plaza; $440 at the Vineyards Toll Plaza; and $110 at May Pen.

Trucks and trailers will be expected pay $670 to use the Portmore Toll Road; $440 at Spanish Town; $1,210 at the Vineyards Plaza; and $360 at May Pen.

This is set out under the 35-year concession agreement with TransJamaican Highway Limited.

The developer has the right to increase tolls every 12 months at a rate equal to, or less than, the toll cap, which is subject to an adjustment based on the valuation of the Jamaica dollar against the United States dollar and the US inflation rate.

Managing director of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) Ivan Anderson has indicated, however, that no significant increases are expected for the north-south link of Highway 2000, since there has not been any significant change in those two factors.

Following public outcry about high toll increases last year, the Government negotiated with the developers of the north-south highway for a lower rate than originally proposed, which was eventually settled at 25 per cent less than the published rates.

Anderson recently assured motorists that they will not be asked to pay the difference that the developers had agreed to forego last year.

“Where the developer says I want 'X' and the Government says you will not charge 'X' but 'X' minus, then that becomes an obligation [to the Government],” he said, recently.

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