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$7.28 billion more allocated for roadworks

Saturday, January 19, 2019

AN additional $7.28 billion has been allocated to the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) in the second supplementary estimates for the 2018/19 fiscal year.

This was disclosed by Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke as he opened the debate on the estimates in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Lower House approved the second supplementary estimates, which showed that the Administration is to spend an additional $11.45 billion for this fiscal year, increasing the budget from $791.11 billion to $802.56 billion.

Dr Clarke said that at the start of the fiscal year some $12.03 billion was voted for the MIDP. This allotment was increased in the first supplementary estimates to $19.34 billion, due to faster-than- programmed project execution.

He explained that the additional $7.28 billion will enable the substantial completion of the Mandela Highway road improvement works; settlement of some land acquisition; completion of all ancillary works — namely water supply and sewerage works being implemented on behalf of the National Water Commission; and major asphalt installation on Constant Spring Road, St Andrew, and from Ferris to Mackfield in Westmoreland.

The finance minister told the House that major works along Constant Spring Road, Hagley Park Road and Ferris to Mackfield will be substantially completed by the end of March.

He said that the Government, acting through the National Works Agency, is pursuing an aggressive construction schedule designed to reduce public inconvenience and dislocation.

MIDP is being funded through a loan from the China Exim Bank valued at $30.58 billion (US$300 million), with the Government of Jamaica providing counterpart funding of $5.39 billion (US$52.94 million).

Under the programme, the Government has undertaken to install modern infrastructure for water, sanitation, drainage and telecoms that will serve Jamaica for the next 40 years.

As part of the Legacy Projects component, improvement works are ongoing on several of the busiest and most congested roads in the country.