29 Dec 2003

Marshalls construction industry waiting for better times

10:15 am on 29 December 2003

Officials in the Marshall Islands say a new United States-funded agreement is expected to breathe life into the country's construction industry.

The Compact of Free Association will inject almost 14 million US dollars into the building sector - nearly all of it for public schools - with an additional one point four million earmarked for maintenance work during 2004.

Local contractors say they have had very little work - and no big multi-million dollar projects - in the last year, with only a handful of small ongoing projects funded by an Asian Development Bank loan and other small construction grants.

The Compact Office executive director, Robert Muller, says a plan for implementing the construction component of the new funding has gone to Cabinet for approval.

He says once that approval is granted the development of detailed designs and a bidding process should have the construction industry in gear by next June.