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Machinery agreement with CCECC signed

Friday October 10, 2014 Written by Published in Economy
Local government officials and a delegation from the CCECC met yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister to sign an agreement that will see a fleet of machinery gifted to the outer islands. 14101027 Local government officials and a delegation from the CCECC met yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister to sign an agreement that will see a fleet of machinery gifted to the outer islands. 14101027

A fleet of heavy machinery is set to be deployed to all of the inhabited outer islands after the signing of a deal between government officials and a delegation from the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Yesterday, Secretary of Finance Richard Neves and CCECC Vice President Zhao Zhonging put their signatures to the deal – which government expects to lead to infrastructure improvements in the Pa Enua.
The arrangement is being financed by a grant from the Chinese government with all machinery to be sourced from the Peoples’ Republic of China at a cost of roughly $6.4-million.
Included in the deal is a training package for operators and mechanics, along with an inventory of spare parts to be stored in Rarotonga.
After the signing, Zhonging said, “It’s a very good day today to sign this contract”, adding that the shipment would be made as soon as possible.
He said the machinery – similar to equipment used in some of the CCECC’s international projects - will be sourced from the top three brands in China.
Neves relayed a message from Deputy Prime Minister Teariki Heather, whom he said was happy with the quality of the machinery.
“The new equipment will replace old, obsolete and in some cases non-functioning machinery which has become more and more expensive to maintain and keep running,” reads a release issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management’s Development Coordination Division.
MFEM says many of the machines currently in use were originally bought second hand from Australia and New Zealand with a limited useful life, particularly in the environmental conditions of the outer islands.
“In the scoping exercise for the equipment, it was noted that there were nearly 4,700 people living in the outer islands and that the government was committed to providing a safe and enabling environment for viable and sustainable communities,” reads MFEM’s release.
The Ministry says the machinery – expected to consist of a number of excavators, graders, and loaders - will contribute to the government’s commitment, and for the maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, airports, and harbours.
Neves said, “In 2004 the government began trying to replace and provide better heavy machinery on the outer islands. But a shortage of funds meant progress was piece-meal and mainly used equipment was purchased, and that provided its own set of problems.”
“The arrangement we’ve entered into today will see new equipment supplied, along with training for the operators and the maintenance people.”
“We have sourced machinery from China in the past, notably tractors for agriculture in 2008; and while the tractors themselves performed well, sourcing spare parts was an issue. So in this deal we are bringing in a substantial inventory of spares.”
On hand for the signing, Director Owen Lewis of the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute said seven days of training with the input of Chinese technicians will help familiarise locals with the equipment.
Newly sworn-in Rakahanga MP Toka Hagai said a fleet of new machinery on his island will make things much easier for his constituents.
“We have been using manpower up until now,” he said.
Hagai said he expects the equipment to be used to upgrade the island’s airport and water infrastructure.
In addition to the signing, the CCECC delegation met with Prime Minister Henry Puna earlier in the day.
The CCECC is currently completing the replacement of Rarotonga’s ring mains, a project valued at $23.1 million.
The company has previously been involved in the construction of the courthouse, police headquarters and more recently, in 2009 with the Telecom Sports Arena in Nikao.

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