Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
BEIJING, China:ROBERT PICKERSGILL, the minister responsible for water, has said COMPLANT has expressed an interest in a major water project for Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
He also said the company is interested in building a children's hospital in Montego Bay, St James.
Pickersgill said a rate increase to the National Water Commission (NWC) would assist in the country securing the investment from COMPLANT for the Savanna-la-Mar sewerage treatment plant project.
He said with the Government not being in a position to secure borrowings for projects, the Chinese want to be assured that the rates are such that they can get a return on their investment.
"One of the attractive things about the water proposal is that the NWC would collect the rates and turn over to them," Pickersgill said.
The minister said there appears to be a breakthrough as COMPLANT, having done its studies, is prepared to go the route of a build, own, and operate type public/private partnership.
"They are prepared to give a moratorium of five years with rates of two to three per cent, which is very attractive. But if we are going to ink that deal, the NWC would have to demonstrate that when the moratorium period is over, they will be able to paddle their own canoe," Pickersgill said.
The minister has said it will require an investment of US$1 billion to improve potable water supply and sanitation services to achieve national targets under Vision 2030, and another $1 billion for the installation of new central sewage systems in 16 major towns across the island.