Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Samuda assures EU representative that Sugar Transformation Programme on track

Published:Tuesday | July 12, 2016 | 7:00 AM

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda recently met with Jesus Orus Baguena, head of cooperation for the delegation of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica, to discuss the auditor general's audit report on aspects of the Sugar Transformation Programme.

Samuda assured Baguena that the $12-billion EU-funded programme, which includes a wide range of projects geared at stimulating the expansion of the sugar industry, remains on track.

He said inefficiencies were noted by the ministry in relation to the allocation of loans under the Cane Expansion Fund and an audit team from PwC was commissioned in 2012 to conduct a management audit.

The recommendations of this audit team are now being implemented throughout the programme.

Despite the inefficiencies, the minister assured Baguena that a loans committee duly approved all loans.

In relation to the Sugar Barracks Relocation Programme, Samuda noted that the remaining housing units have been completed and an official handover ceremony will be held next month.

Samuda also assured Baguena that a special monitoring unit is being set up, which will be headed by the ministry's director general, Vivian Brown.

The unit will be given the authority to monitor the implementation of projects in the ministry and provide regular progress reports. Baguena said he was satisfied with the steps that have been taken by the Government as well as the progress of the programme.

He also said the EU would continue to work with the Government and support its programmes.