$25m used for roadworks

THE Pacific Community (SPC) says 86 per cent or $25.8 million out of the $30 million provided by the European Union is being used to repair, upgrade and maintain 200 kilometres of cane access roads in the Western Division.

In response to queries from this newspaper, SPC said its Rural Access Roads and Associated Infrastructure (RARAI) project was spending the bulk of the EU funds on ensuring 1800 sugarcane growers and 6000 produce farmers of Koronubu in Ba, Malolo in Nadi and Drasa, Lautoka, had high standard access to mills and markets.

“Eighty-six per cent (11 million euros) of the project budget is committed to rehabilitation and maintenance of roads and drains,” said SPC.

“So far (as of February 26), the project has contracted 8.1 million euros ($F$20.216m) for roads and drainage works in Malolo, Drasa and Koronubu.

“In March, the project is expected to contract another 700,000-800,000 euros on the (re)construction of selected Irish crossings in Drasa and Koronubu sectors.

“Only 5 per cent of the project budget is to meet human resources costs whilst 9 per cent of the budget meets equipment, operational, training (maintenance) and technical assistance e.g. supervision engineers.”

The EU-funded RARAI project is a four-year program which began in 2014 and is scheduled to be completed this year.

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