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(CMC) – Dominica and China Monday signed an EC$120 million grant aid agreement that Beijing said underscores its commitment and friendship to the people of the hurricane battered island.
The funds will be used for a number of key projects on the island, including the reconstruction of several schools and the new hospital in Goodwill on the outskirts of the capital. The money will also got towards post Hurricane Maria rehabilitation.
“The Chinese government will provide the Dominica government with a grant aid in the amount of 300 million RMD that is about 120 million EC dollars. It is not only a reflection of the valuable China-Dominica friendship but also a symbol of China’s quick and strong support to the recovery and rebuilding efforts of Dominica,’ Ambassador: Lu Kun said at the signing ceremony with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
The Chinese diplomat said that the new aid agreement is intended to provide more assistance “:to our Dominican friends (and) which opens a new page for China-Dominica friendship and cooperation.
“This agreement demonstrates China’s firm support to the social and economic development of Dominica especially to the post hurricane reconstruction …as well as Prime Minister Skerrit’s vision to build back better and to build the first climate resilient country in the world”.
For his part, Prime Minister Skerrit said that the funds would be used for the construction of several schools across the island as well as to develop the agricultural sector.
‘This 120 million EC dollar, some of it will be used to construct the agricultural complex in Portsmouth (north of here) which will bring to Dominica a new thinking in agriculture, a more technologically based agriculture, which at the end of the day will increase production and productivity on the farms and thereby increasing the investment returns for farmers,” he said.
Skerrit said that the funds will also be used to construct the second phase of the new hospital.
“We also have from last year, a 100 RMD that have not been used up. The Cabinet has discussed this matter and …has decided that we shall use the balance of these funds for the second phase of the new hospital,” he said, adding that he would soon be making an announcement as to the name of the new medical facility.
He said the second phase would also include the construction of a helicopter pad to make it easier to fly patients out of the country.