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Inside the budget

Published:Thursday | April 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

$250m for courthouse upkeep

A total of $250 million has been set aside in the 2010/2011 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the Houses of Representatives, to facilitate the renovation and maintenance of Jamaica's courthouses.The money will also go towards the purchase of equipment and other goods and services.

Meanwhile, an additional sum of $35 million will go towards justice-improvement measures under the Citizens Security and Justice Project. The money will be used to procure the services of a consultant, to develop and draft the legal framework, and for the training of judges, magistrates and practitioners on the new legal framework.

The consultant will also train justices of the peace and community leaders; develop an awareness and education strategy action plan; and lead the process for the refurbishing of two centres, to be used as community justice tribunals to facilitate approximately 10 sittings.

The allotment will also go towards compensation of employees, travel expenses and subsistence, purchase of equipment and other goods and services.The initiative is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.

$193m for irrigation development

Efforts by the Jamaican Government to increase agricultural production and farmers' earnings through improved irrigation management are being boosted through a $193-million allocation to the National Irrigation Development Project.

As stated in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives, the money will go towards the installation of pipes and fittings at New Forest/Duff House in Manchester; continue the strengthening of water users' associations and the training of farmers; and commence a feasibility study for the establishment of an irrigation system in Essex Valley, St Elizabeth.

Work will also be undertaken in Colbeck, St Catherine, to bring irrigation water to farmers.

The project, which was implemented by the National Irrigation Commission, is scheduled for completion in November 2011. It is being funded jointly by the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank.

As at February 2010, pipes and fittings were installed at Colbeck and a pump house built; and four wells in New Forest and two in Yallahs, St Thomas, were drilled and tested. In addition, there is ongoing cadastral mapping of Yallahs and New Forest/Duff House, and upgrading of customer relationship management systems.

$51.3m to rural competitiveness programme

A total of $51.3 million has been allocated to the Rural Competitive-ness Programme in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives.

The programme, which is funded by the Jamaican Government and the Inter-American Development Bank, seeks to provide support that will result in the development of a modern, efficient and internationally competitive agricultural sector.

It also aims to implement a marketing and international quality-management system; allow for the efficient institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; and deliver agricultural support services to foster the development of a market-driven, and efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector.

Physical targets

Anticipated physical targets for the 2010/11 fiscal year include the implementation of a market system, which will seek to develop a master plan, which will be the foundation for the successful marketing of fresh and value-added products and livestock products; and to develop an operating manual for use by producers and exporters.

Other targets include: implementing a public-awareness campaign; developing a database and strengthening of the record base systems; and establishing a one-stop shop for business counselling, technical and marketing services. The programme is expected to begin this month and conclude March 2018.

$13.2m for land development

A total of $13.2 million has been allocated to the Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management project in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure.

The project aims to enhance effective sustainable land management by building capacities of government and civil-society institutions and user groups. It also seeks to mainstream sustainable land management into government planning and strategy development.

Anticipated targets include the assessment of policy and regulatory frameworks to identify gaps, weaknesses and barriers to coherent and effective sustainable land management systems; development of a framework policy for sustainable land management; development of a comprehensive training programme; development of a detailed monitoring and evaluation plan; and conducting a survey on public awareness of sustainable land management.

The project is funded by the Government, the Global Environ-ment Facility, Jamaica Conservation Development Trust and the United Nations Development Programme. It is expected to begin this month and end March 2013.

The project is being implemented by the Forestry Department and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

$106 million for roads

Arterial roads, thoroughfares which interconnect major towns in Jamaica, will receive some attention in the new fiscal year, through the provision of $106 million to the Ministry of Transport and Works.The bulk of the money, $97.5 million - as set out in the Estimates of Expenditure tabled in the House of Representatives on March 25 - will go to the National Road Operating and Constructing Company for payment to TransJamaica Highway Limited for the delay in approving the new toll rates. It will also cover the cost for opening the toll road to the public on December 1, 2009 during a fire at Wray and Nephew Limited at Spanish Town Road, Kingston.

Meanwhile, $4.5 million has been provided to facilitate the payment of unsettled land claims on the Old Harbour bypass. This project, originally funded through the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been completed. The Ocho Rios Road Development project will receive $4.2 million, also to pay for unsettled land claims.

Arterial roads comprise some 809 kilometres of thoroughfare as well as bridges, culverts, walls and associated structures.

$1.25b for sports and recreation

The development of sport and recreational facilities islandwide has been boosted with a provision of $1.25 billion in the current fiscal year budget.

The Urban Development Corpo-ration aims to expand and develop cultural and sport facilities under the programme. This is aimed at enhancing the blossoming of local creative talents; promoting a cultural fraternity to stimulate and deepen cultural exchanges in the Caribbean; designing training programmes; and developing human resources.

Wide-ranging success

The project has seen wide-ranging success since implementation in August 1993. Among the achievements are: erection of a perimeter fence around Independence Park; construction of a car park and the erection of lights and installation of drains; installation of seating, and toilet/changing-room facilities; relocation of the National Stadium Police Station to the northeastern section of the adjacent Arthur Wint Drive; completion of the football field to international standard; and completion of the Stadium East seating and changing-room facilities.

Works were also executed on a number of other facilities in rural Jamaica. Some of the projects completed are: the installation of spectator seating and fencing at the G.C. Foster College in St Catherine; completion of the Montego Bay Civic Centre; and restoration works on the eastern section of the Port Maria courthouse, St Mary.

The project is being jointly funded by the Government and the Bank of Economic and Social Development of Venezuela.