22 Aug 2005

ADB wants justification of increase in estimated project costs in Marshalls

7:18 am on 22 August 2005

The Asian Development Bank says it's seeking justification for a massive escalation in estimated costs of an ADB-funded project in The Marshall Islands to improve infrastructure in outer islands.

The ADB agreed to a 10 million US dollar loan for the project in 2001 but a recently completed engineering plan now estimates the work will cost about 24 million dollars to build.

Earlier this year the ADB was critical of the Marshall Islands government for its slow implementation of the loan.

The ADB's desk officer for the Marshall Islands, Steve Pollard, says that at two and half times the cost of the approved loan, the project now needs reassessing.

"And if costs have gone up, then there is a question of viability and that's why there is a team in the country right at the moment working the government and trying to reassess the viability."