IDB: Repairs to sewage system, road networks would cost millions
BARBADOS’ infrastructure, including the South Coast Sewerage System, transportation and road networks, is in bad shape and need urgent repairs.
To this end, the bill for fixing these challenges would be roughly Bds$160 million, with the majority earmarked for the South Coast Sewerage System.
This figure is cited in a just released Policy Brief published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which at the same time suggested a public-private partnership to help tackle the problems.
The Bank said Barbados has a weak centralised Sanitation system and has been experiencing sewerage leakages, while pointing to the problems on the South Coast.
The IDB stated: “Estimates suggest a cumulative cost of Bds$77.0 million is required (0.8 per cent of GDP) to address the challenges of the South Coast Sewerage System, whereas fixing the South Coast and Bridgetown plants will have an immediate cost of an estimated Bds$22 million (0.2 per cent of GDP).”
The IDB said that the cost of upgrading public transportation system and undertaking essential road and bridge repairs is estimated at Bds$60 million some 0.6 per cent of GDP.
“In addition, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), which is the sole port of entry for individuals arriving by air in Barbados, has challenges with ageing and weakening infrastructure as well as inadequate capacity,” said the Washington, D.C.-based institution.
The Bank has also said that other inefficiencies in the transport sector lower the returns to existing infrastructure.
“For example, there are recorded inefficiencies in the process at the port, which make exporting slower and more expensive despite high quality infrastructure, nautical access, and availability of equipment,” according to the Bank.
The Policy Brief summaries challenges in the infrastructure sectors of Barbados, The Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. It also includes recommendations to overcome these challenges, along with an overview of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), national development plans and ongoing initiatives.
Transportation, Energy, Water and Sanitation and Telecommunications are the key infrastructural sectors highlighted in the Policy Brief.
The Bank has acknowledged that by international standards, Barbados has high quality infrastructure which has been a driver of economic growth over the past decades.
In terms of transportation, the financial institution noted further that Barbados has 4.4 kilometres of roads per square kilometre, 80 per cent of which is paved, and some of the highest road density levels in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“However, most of the network is at least 20 years old and in need of repair, maintenance and upgrading to accommodate the large increase in motor vehicles in recent years,” it said.
Quality of roads, the Bank went on, remains one of the lowest scoring sub-indexes for Barbados in the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) Quality of Road Infrastructure Index, ranking 49th among 138 countries. (JB)