Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Shaw signs US$326M loan agreement for southern highway, extension of toll road

Published:Thursday | February 16, 2017 | 2:13 PM
Finance Minister Audley Shaw

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw today signed a US$326 million loan agreement with China Ex-Im Bank for the Southern Coastal Highway improvement project and the extension of the tolled East-West  Highway from May Pen, Clarendon to Williamsfield, Manchester.

Shaw, who is leading a delegation to China, met with his Chinese counterpart Xiao Jing on Wednesday and updated him on the Jamaican economy and the status of Chinese investments locally, the Ministry said in a release.

He noted that since 2011 when he last met with Jing, Jamaica had progressed with the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Development Programme, the Major Infrastructure Development Programme of the last administration and to the completion of the North-South Highway.

At the signing of the loan agreement, Liu Liange, Vice Chairman and President of the Ex-Im Bank of China assured Shaw of the Bank’s commitment to further supporting Jamaica in its economic development programme.

The finance ministers agreed on the strategic importance of Jamaica in joint ventures for the development of  industrial and agro-parks to service export markets in the western hemisphere.

Shaw also met China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Zhang Xiangchen and it was mutually agreed to explore the possibility of entering into a memorandum of understanding to put in place mechanisms for the establishment of logistics, industrial and agro parks in Jamaica.

He also met and discussed with Chairman of the China Development Bank, Hu Huaibang the financing of the North-South Highway and the financing of future investment projects.

The release said there were fruitful discussions with Chen Chunming, head of Jiquan Iron and Steel on the reopening and development of ALPART and on the several opportunities that will flow, including agricultural development for small farmers in central Jamaica.

Shaw also had discussions with President of China Harbour Engineering Company, Tang Qiaoliang.

- mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com