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Bahamas, China sign $40M loan agreement for Abaco infrastructural works

The government signed an agreement with the Chinese government yesterday for a loan of $40 million for two infrastructural developments in Abaco.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette and Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas Hu Shan met yesterday to sign the agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on West Bay Street.

The two projects are the North Abaco port project and the Little Abaco bridge project.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, using China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. as the contractor, will execute both projects, Symonette said.

Following the appraisal of the projects and the completion of the government’s internal approval procedure, Symonette added, a specific formal loan agreement will be executed between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance.

“The terms of the loan will include a low concessional interest rate of two percent per annum over a repayment period of 20 years,” he said.

“With this loan, the monetary sum of bilateral technical support from the government of the People’s Republic of China would be $109 million; other loans having been provided in respect of the Airport Gateway Project and a container scanner.”

The North Abaco port project will consist of the creation of a 45-acre international and domestic cargo port in North Abaco at Conch Rock Creek, two miles north of Cooper’s Town, Symonette said.

The port will encompass a bulk cargo berth, a container berth and an oil product berth.  It will also include space for a marina with fuelling facilities, boat maintenance, storage facilities and office rental spaces.  It will also have administrative facilities for the Immigration and Customs Departments, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and warehouse facilities, Symonette noted.

The Little Abaco bridge project will allow for the construction of a bridge on the S.C. Bottle Highway linking Great Abaco and Little Abaco.

Symonette said the bridge will replace the causeway which is presently across Angel Fish Creek separating Great and Little Abaco islands.

He concluded, “We look forward to the future as both our countries continue to strive to enhance the quality of life for our respective citizens.”

Member of Parliament for South Abaco Edison Key commented, “I think it’s going to open up Abaco now to its fullest possibilities when it comes to commerce and transport and shipping from Florida.

“This is going to make a lot of difference in bringing south and north together [and] I see it as a very positive move for Abaco and its people,” he added.

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