Friday, October 01, 2010

Improving our infrastructure

The recent effects of Tropical Storm Nicole showed us once again that Jamaica is a poor and underdeveloped country. It seems as if every time the rains fall the infrastructure damage is always greater than the time before. I can't imagine what would happen to us if we were to get a really serious category 4 hurricane.

This as far as I am concerned is a test run, and should alert us to the state of disrepair of our infrastructure. This problem is one that has been lamented for years, and has been in the making for a very long time. The fact is that there has been no serious upgrading of our infrastructure, apart from the north and south coast highways built in the early part of this decade. When I used to comment on the need to put money into our capital infrastructure, this is the sort of debacle that I envisioned would happen if (1) enough funds were not allocated for development, and (2) the funds were not properly spent.

The fact is that there has been no serious upgrading of our infrastructure, apart from the north and south coast highways built in the early part of this decade.

Insufficient capital expenditure
It is clear that the fiscal programmes have failed in both areas. The fiscal budget from 2004/5 (the earliest information on the MOFPS website) shows that in that year only 4% of total expenditure went into capital expenditure, and not all of that went into infrastructure spending. Over the years that amount has marginally increased, and in this year's budget the amount allocated to capital expenditure is 16% of total expenditure.

Secondly, the damage done to our roads after a little rain, or even just from regular use, shows that the quality of the road work has been deplorable. We have simply been laying down asphalt without any concern for proper road construction. Consequently, the little money that we have spent on our infrastructure has been frittered away, because the drainage and the durability of the roads were not considered. Bouygues has had to come to show us how to build roads.

Currently there is some controversy about the JDIP, which is to be funded by a US$340 million loan from the Chinese and an injection of US$60 million from the GOJ. I can't believe that at this time when (1) some stimulus is needed for the economy because of the economic downturn, and (2) the need for a proper road infrastructure which the poor taxpayers have paid for time and time again, we are indulging in a war of words which could lead to a delay in the spending. I can understand the need to ensure that the money is properly spent, and the NWA should be held to account for the quality of the spending, but we must ensure that these funds get into the economy.

The fact is that infrastructure spending is necessary in order to counter some of the negative effects of the economic downturn, as many people have lost jobs, particularly in the construction sector, and we need this spending in order to bring back some amount of consumer demand. My view would be that the decision as to where the funds are spent should be ultimately decided by the responsible organisation, the NWA, based on the infrastructure needs. The NWA must be held to account to deliver work of high quality. Slipshod work is taking us back to an almost primitive state. We must as taxpayers, represented by the GOJ and the Opposition, demand that our tax dollar is spent in an efficient manner.

I am in support of the Minister of Transport in his bid to ensure that this programme is undertaken and that a proper multi-modal transportation system is developed. The JDIP will obviously form a critical part of that transportation system. For too long the people of Jamaica have been transported like cattle, instead of enjoying a decent and efficient way of moving around, starting from the disbanding of the JOS. This has been a failing of governments from the 1980s through to the present, with some amount of improvement coming during Peter Phillips' tenure as Transport Minister. Moving people around is essential for a vibrant economy, and Minister Henry's intentions must be supported for the good of the country.

Two JDIP arguments
There are two other points that have been made about the JDIP:
1. That the Road maintenance fund will not be enough to repay the loan. This is an essential point noted by the Auditor General, and needs to be addressed. I believe, however, that it shouldn't be addressed by slowing down the programme but rather consider the loan from a value added return perspective. The question is, will the programme allow for value-added to the economy that will justify finding the additional funds to pay back the loan? If the answer is yes, then as I always say, debt is always good up to the point where the marginal return equals the marginal cost; and
2. That there is an amount of approximately US$30 million to US$40 million to be allocated to management fees. Some have even suggested that this means that less money will be available for spending on the roads themselves as money will have to be paid for management fees. Well, I think that proper management of the project is essential, and if there is not proper management in place then the project should not go ahead. Without proper management we may end up with the same low quality of output we have seen in the past. What we must ensure is that appropriate, management is put in place and an assessment is done to ensure that the management fees are appropriate but it is better to have fewer well managed projects than more projects with a lack of proper management skills.

What is clear from the rains that we have experienced is that Jamaica's capital infrastructure is woefully lacking. If we are serious about achieving the mission of the 2030 vision, which includes the place of choice to live for families, then of necessity we must have a proper capital infrastructure. We cannot continue to have infrastructure where one has to be avoiding potholes, flooded roadways, roads without proper sidewalks for pedestrians, or the risk of a bridge collapsing while you crossit, or being cut off from civilasation because a bridge has collapsed and there is no alternative route.

My advice to those sparring about the politics of the JDIP is that the programme is necessary for the current economic state and Jamaicans generally. Let's not cause both to suffer because we see this as another political football. Please sit down and iron out the differences, and let us ensure that the programme goes forward in an efficient manner.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long
comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing
all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!


Also visit my website :: basal metabolic rate calculator

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to find out what blog system you're utilizing?
I'm having some minor security issues with my latest website and I'd like to find something more safe.
Do you have any solutions?

Look into my webpage - airplane Game

Anonymous said...

Hey this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs
use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

Take a look at my page ... best registry cleaners

Anonymous said...

Having read this I believed it was rather informative.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort
to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant
amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


Feel free to visit my web blog calculate waist to height ratio

Anonymous said...

You have made some decent points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


Here is my web-site ... healthy diet plans

Anonymous said...

When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a
comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Thanks!

my website ... safe diet plans

Anonymous said...

I feel that is one of the so much important information for me.
And i am satisfied studying your article. However want
to remark on some basic things, The site style is wonderful,
the articles is actually great : D. Good process, cheers

Here is my web-site ... online graduate certificate programs

Anonymous said...

You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites on the net.
I'm going to highly recommend this blog!

Here is my homepage how Much should i weigh

Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd love to write some content for
your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if
interested. Kudos!

Also visit my webpage :: hip to waist ratio calculator

Anonymous said...

Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I'm impressed! Very helpful information particularly the final part :) I take care of such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

Here is my blog post - healthy diet plans

Anonymous said...

Unquestionably believe that that you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing
to be mindful of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed
while people think about issues that they just don't recognise about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as neatly as defined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

Also visit my blog raspberry ketone reviews

Anonymous said...

Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and detailed
information you provide. It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't
the same old rehashed information. Wonderful
read! I've saved your site and I'm adding
your RSS feeds to my Google account.

My web site - ways to lose weight fast

Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
Please send me an email if interested. Regards!

my web blog :: Buy Chronic profits

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you're getting your information, but great topic.
I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for
my mission.

Visit my site: Acne care

Anonymous said...

Great article. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well.
.

Feel free to visit my web page :: Weight loss burner

Anonymous said...

That is really attention-grabbing, You are an overly skilled blogger.
I have joined your feed and sit up for in the hunt for more of
your excellent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my
social networks

Feel free to surf to my web blog :: pharmacy tech schools

柯云 said...

2016-06-16keyun
cheap rolex watches
supra shoes
louis vuitton outlet stores
hollister clothing
coach outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
coach outlet
nike air max uk
louis vuitton purses
adidas yeezy
oakley outlet
ray ban sunglasses wholesale
louis vuitton outlet stores
nfl jerseys
cheap louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
oakley canada
gucci handbags
ralph lauren
kobe shoes 11
coach outlet online
nike store uk
michael kors outlet
cheap toms shoes
michael kors handbags
hollister shirts
coach factory outlet
ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
jordan 3 retro
asics shoes for women
nike trainers men
coach outlet online
nfl jerseys wholesale
michael kors bags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
jordans for sale
kate spade outlet
nike roshe shoes