JAMAICAN ROADS TO BENEFIT FROM KUWAITI FUND ASSISTANCE
Signing the loan agreement are from left to right, Minister Audley Shaw and Mr. Ghanem Al-Ghenaiman, Deputy Director General for Investment of the KFAED. Looking on are Mr. Nameel Al-Dakheel of the Kuwaiti delegation and Mrs. Rose Lemonius-Stewart, Actg Director, Loan Administration & Monitoring at the Ministry of Finance.
A loan of four million dinars has been made available by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arabic Development (KFAED) to the Government of Jamaica to assist in the rehabilitation of road sections in the main road network islandwide.
At the signing ceremony which took place at the Corporate Office of the Ministry of Finance on Monday, February 18, 2008, Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw expressed his appreciation for the loan facility saying that it would assist a great deal in improving the country's roads, especially those in the rural areas. Noting the high standard of work that has marked other projects with which the Kuwaitis have been associated (the Old Harbour Bypass for eg.), Minister Shaw said that the assistance will be 'money well spent'.
Speaking on behalf of the Kuwaitis, Mr. Ghanem Al-Ghenaiman said he was very happy to be in Jamaica to sign the contract. He explained that the KFAED has covered over one hundred countries all over the world in terms of assistance. He highlighted the fact that the KFAED would be happy to look at the possibility of negotiating another loan with Jamaica and that he was looking forward to be back in Jamaica on completion of the various road projects which will be funded by the loan.
Also speaking at the ceremony was State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Hon. Joseph Hibbert who said he was pleased to be associated with the project. He said that the loan would go a far way in improving the quality of the roads as currently the road network was heavily damaged in many parts. He commented that the Ministry would be re-introducing periodic maintenance and that that would promote safety and the decrease of road failures.
The National Works Agency, as executing Agency identified approximately 41km of priority roads for rehabilitation under Phase 1 of the roads rehabilitation project. Road sections here included the Spanish Town Bypass in St. Catherine; Whitney Turn, Trinity, Williamsfield - Greenvale, Mandeville and Markpost all in Manchester and Stony Hill and Tom's River in St. Andrew.
Additional funding of three million dinars will be provided by way of a loan to GOJ from the KFAED to facilitate the rehabilitation of approximately 47km of main road, some of which were designed under Phase 1 of the project. Road sections to benefit here include:
- Ferris Cross - Mackfield in Westmoreland
- Alexandria - Browns Town in St. Ann
- Toms River - Broadgate in St. Mary
- Broadgate - Agualta Vale also in St. Mary
Terms and conditions of the loan are as follows:
- Loan Amount: Kuwaiti Dinars 3,000,000.00 (approx.US$10M)
- Tenor: Twenty years inclusive of a grace period of four years.
- Repayment: 32 semi-annual instalments of the principal withdrawn and outstanding; and interest accrued after the date of the first withdrawal application
- Interest Rate: 3.5% p.a on the principal amount withdrawn and outstanding. Payable on February 1 and August 1 each year.
- Admin Fees: ½ % of 1% on the amounts withdrawn and outstanding from time to time.
- Special Cmtmt: ½ % of 1% p.a on the amounts withdrawn and outstanding from Fee
It is anticipated that the loan from the KFAED will assist Jamaica's efforts to improve the efficiency of the national road network to support agricultural, industrial and tourism activities by meeting the increased vehicular and passenger demands and reducing vehicle operating costs and travel time. The project is expected to start mid 2008 and should be completed by 2011.