Saturday, December 17, 2011

$50M loan to target air transportation in Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas - The Bahamas is receiving a $50 million loan to improve its air transportation system in a program expected to increase flights within the island chain and modernize its airports.

The Inter-American Development Bank says its loan also will be used to create an independent body to investigate aviation incidents and accidents.

Nearly $48 million will be used for aviation reforms, while the remainder will be used for technical support and analysis of transportation issues between the smaller islands.

Five domestic airlines and 17 international ones currently serve the Bahamas.

The loan was announced this week.

$131m loans for water and sewerage, aviation upgrades

THE government put pen to paper on two loans from the Inter-American Development Bank worth a combined $131 million, to be used on water supply and sanitation upgrades and an air transport reform programme.

The Water and Sewerage Corporation will receive $81 million to rehabilitate selected sewerage infrastructure and make its other services more effective and efficient.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the majority of the money will go toward reducing water loss in the capital.

“We will direct $49 million at reducing non-revenue water, $15.5 million will go toward rehabilitating sewer plants infrastructure and designing a master plan for waste water treatment and $5.5 million will be allotted for institutional strengthening of WSC to improve staff productivity and customer service,” he said.

Environment Minister Earl Deveaux said the loan will eventually pay for itself through the savings it creates by eliminating water leakage.

“This loan means that we will be able to reduce leaks that account for five million gallons per day that is wasted. We will also be able to meet the demand for water in New Providence and the price of water will be more affordable than the water barging we just discontinued.

“We will also be able to increase water pressure from 19 pounds per square inch to 25. We will essentially increase the quality of water supply in the Bahamas.”

The $50 million Air Transport Programme loan will be used to purchase a new radar system for the Lynden Pindling International Airport; and general development at the Leonard Thompson Airport in Marsh Harbour, Abaco and the Exuma International Airport.

Some of the money will go towards reforming the aviation sector.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool Wallace expressed thanks and appreciation to the IDB for their continued assistance.

“We will use this money to show the world that the Bahamas is made up of more islands than New Providence and Paradise Island. We will focus on upgrading airports in the Family Islands and show the world the variety of the Bahamas through an improved aviation regime,” he said.

IDB vice president Roberto Vellutini signed the loans on behalf of the bank.

They are expected to be paid off in 25 years and carry an interest of 1.24 per cent.

Prime Minister Ingraham said the removal and replacement of water pipes throughout New Providence should not place a further burden on commuters as most of the work will be carried out at night and the pipes are small and require little “digging up.”

According to Glen Leville, general manager at WSC, the infrastructural work is not expected to begin until 2013, after the corporation conducts the necessary surveys and studies.

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