Public bodies to spend $69.5B on capital projects in Jamaica

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By Douglas McIntosh

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Public bodies’ capital expenditure for fiscal year 2022/23 is projected to be $69.57 billion.

The $37.58 billion National Housing Trust (NHT) budget and the $8.85 billion for National Water Commission (NWC) are expected to account for the lion’s share – $46.43 billion or 67 percent of the planned expenditure.

Details of these and other entities’ spend are outlined in the Jamaica public bodies estimates of revenue and expenditure for the year ending March 2023. The document indicates that the NHT will pursue construction of 8,622 housing starts and the delivery of 5,567 solutions.

Funding for these projects is expected to be derived from existing resources and the sale of additional portions of its joint finance mortgage portfolio, among other sources. The document further indicates that the Trust’s housing spend of $34.99 billion will account for 93 percent of the entity’s total capital expenditure this year.

Meanwhile, the NWC is set to continue implementing strategic initiatives and capital projects designed to improve operational efficiency and service reliability and expand coverage areas.

Against this background, the entity’s planned expenditure is expected to cover ongoing replacement of aged meters, metering of unmetered accounts and installation of more accurate meters; continued implementation of the Spanish Town Road and other water main replacement projects; and requisite water and sewerage upgrades to support infrastructural development plans for Port Royal.

The programmed spend of an additional five public bodies will account for another $14.16 billion of the remaining overall capital expenditure. Leading the way is the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) with $5.81 billion, Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) – $3.81 billion, Petrojam Limited – $2.10 billion, Ports Management Security Limited (PMSL) – $1.39 billion, and Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) – $1.05 billion.

According to the public bodies estimates, the HAJ will facilitate the development of 1,269 affordable housing solutions through joint venture projects. This is in keeping with its mandate to provide affordable housing solutions for low and middle-income earners.

A total of 74 affordable housing solutions are also expected to be delivered through a HAJ-owned and managed project in Reid’s Pen, Portmore, St Catherine. Expenditure for housing development is expected to account for $5.67 billion, or 97 percent, of the HAJ’s planned capital expenditure.

The PAJ will continue to pursue projects aimed at facilitating port development and enhancement of security at these facilities.

The principal components of the PAJ’s projected $3.81-billion spend include $1.37 billion to facilitate final payment towards the acquisition of the Jamaica III Buoy Tender to effect offshore repairs, as well as $0.49 billion and $0.29 billion to fund ongoing work at the Port Royal cruise terminal and Montego Bay Freeport, respectively.

Another $163.35 million is projected to be spent on the port community system.

The public bodies estimates indicate that Petrojam plans to spend its budgeted $2.10 billion to upgrade/renovate storage tanks, pumps, and pipelines. This is in keeping with major ongoing maintenance at the refinery to improve operational efficiency.

The PMSL will continue work to bolster security at the island’s ports through the acquisition of specialised equipment. To this end, $0.47 billion of the entity’s capital budget will be used to procure a CCTV system and a Rapsican X-ray machine for use at the Kingston Wharf and Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) port.

Ports Management Security Limited is a joint venture between the PAJ and Kingston Wharves Limited.

Meanwhile, the AAJ is slated to continue work on domestic aerodromes at a cost of $0.58 billion.

The agency will also be looking to continue project implementation related to carryover development works at Norman Manley International Airport, at a cost of $0.22 billion.

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