November 9 , 2010
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) together with the National Planning Department (NPD) and the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), conducted a workshop in Batticaloa recently to create awareness on business opportunities in JICA-supported rural roads and water supply development projects in the Eastern Province. The workshop, attended by over 100 civil contractors registered with the EPC, aimed at promoting participation of local enterprises in local development initiatives.
Mr. P. Sumanapala, Additional Director General of the NPD, in his key note address said, "The government has embarked on a regional development approach with fast track development schemes in eight provinces including the Eastern Province. The focus is on developing the provinces by optimal utilization of their own resources. Both public and private sectors are expected to work hand in hand in this effort".
Mr. V. Mahendrarajah, Deputy Chief Secretary of the EPC encouraging local contractors to participate and contribute to the development of the province said, "The Eastern Province has taken measures to build contractors' capacity for their effective function. The EPC has also now taken steps to implement the safety policy in the construction industry in the province, initially focusing on using safety equipment and safety communication." He requested contractors to feel and work as development partners in the province to ensure quality and durability of the final output and enable the community to get full benefits.
EPC and NPD officials together with JICA staff presented the project outlines and explained procurement procedures and eligibility criteria to the participants. Officials from the Institute for Construction Training and Development explained the registration procedure which is a minimum requirement for contractors to be eligible to bid for the projects.
The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the United Nations Office for Project Services contributed with presentations on their initiatives in the province, which could assist the contractors with capacity development as well as additional business opportunities.
The Eastern Province Rural Roads and Water Supply Development projects, financed by JICA under its concessionary loan scheme for development assistance, aim to develop 315km of rural roads and provide better water supply facilities to the public through a number of rural and national water supply schemes. With the guidance of the NPD, the road development project is implemented by the Provincial Road Development Department of the EPC, while the water supply development project is implemented by the EPC and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board.
The projects have been specially designed with small contract packages to enable small and medium scale contractors to participate and to be partners of the socio-economic development of the region.