JDIP replacement gets a name
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
A MAJOR US$353-million infrastructure project funded jointly by the China Ex-Im Bank and the Jamaican Government will be rolled out by the Portia Simpson Miller administration, starting this fiscal year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works Audrey Sewell said the project would be called Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP). It is being introduced as the US$400 million Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) comes to an end.
In his Throne Speech, which is the highlight of the ceremonial opening of Parliament, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen said US$300 million had been secured from the China Ex-Im Bank on a concessionary basis. The balance of US$53 million will be provided by the Government.
Transport and Works Minister Dr Omar Davies, whose thunderous applause echoed across the floor of Parliament as Sir Patrick announced the project, said his reaction was related to the placement of the multi-million dollar project in the Budget. He said this was to ensure that there was transparency in the process.
During the implementation of JDIP, Davies hammered the then Jamaica Labour Party Government for not including the project in the budget.
He told The Gleaner yesterday that MIDP had three components. According to Davies the funds would be used to finance the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), which would target small community projects.
"It will also look at projects suggested by members of parliament and members of the local authorities," he added. Emphasis will also be placed on national projects.
"In terms of the size of the expenditure this year, it is a function of the caps under which we are going to have to operate as part of the proposed IMF (International Monetary Fund) agreement," Davies advised.
He said the project was expected to get under way during the first quarter of the new financial year.
The Opposition's Dr Horace Chang said the country welcomed the project, noting that he hoped it would be implemented in an efficient manner and with integrity.