The provision for EUR 243 million from the budget of the Ministry of Transport and Communications to the American-Turkish consortium Bechtel and Enka for the construction of Corridors VIII and X-d was approved as part of the Program for financing road infrastructure for the Corridor VIII and X-d projects for 2023, adopted at a government session Tuesday and published in the Official Gazette of Macedonia on Wednesday.

The Program determines the purpose of the EUR 243 million for the financing of road infrastructure, allocated from the 2023 state budget.

“The funds from paragraph 1 of this Program will be used for the construction and design of Corridor VIII and Corridor X-d in line with the Contract signed between the Public Enterprise for State Roads, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Bechtel-Enka for the construction of Corridor VIII and Corridor X-d,” says the text published in the Official Gazette.

According to the text, EUR 117 million will be paid out in two tranches aimed at mobilization, mechanization, establishing camps and other activities by the contractors.

The funds from the first tranche of EUR 87 million and the second tranche of EUR 30 million will be paid out in line with Article 14.7 of the Contract for the construction of Corridors VIII and X-d.

Additionally, EUR 50 million will be paid out as advance payment for mobilization, procurement of equipment, bases and materials for the contractor and to support access to funds.

EUR 25.5 million will be provided for capital indirect expenses aimed at supporting construction activities, including the assistance of specialists from a technical, commercial and managing capacity to supervise the project and oversee activities by personnel from the main office of the contractor.

Funds of EUR 49.5 million will be used for the drafting of project documentation, dislocation of underground and above-ground objects, construction activities and other supervision needs.

The Program will enter into force on Thursday, i.e., a day after its publishing in the Official Gazette.

According to the Contract with Bechtel-Enka which was signed on March 8, 2023, four highway sections with a total length of 108.8km will be constructed at the price of EUR 1.3 billion, excluding design and expropriation costs.

Initial calculations show that the 17.5km long Tetovo – Gostivar section will cost EUR 125 million, Gostivar – Bukojchani (30.3km) EUR 560 million, Trebenishta – Struga – Qafasan (21.6km) EUR 360 million, and Prilep – Bitola (39.4km) EUR 260 million. The highway sections will have three 10.7-meter-wide lanes. The average price per kilometer should be around EUR 12 million.

Construction activities on the Tetovo – Gostivar and Prilep – Bitola highway sections are expected to begin April 22, 2023.

According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the prices are based on a feasibility study carried out by the Faculty of Civil Engineering and revised by the Grant Thornton consulting company. The construction contract was drafted on the basis of the FIDIC principles. Which means that the payments will be made out according to the work carried out on the ground.

The consortium IRD Engineering was selected as the legal and transactional advisor and supervisor of the project. The State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption has filed a case for the project, following reports about the companies that are a part of the IRD consortium.

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski in answer to a journalist’s question on Monday, said that the government will act based on the results of the investigations of the relevant authorities.