The Government is pursuing investment projects aimed at improving incomes and employment opportunities across several sectors.
Speaking during a broadcast to the nation on February 11, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips said among the initiatives is the major expansion of the port facilities to exploit the country’s geographic advantage in the post-PANAMAX context.
“This expansion will establish Jamaica as an integrated global logistics hub including expanding port, cargo and maritime facilities and economic zones to take advantage of expected opportunities from the completed expansion of the Panama Canal,” Dr. Phillips said.
He also cited that the completion of the north-south link for Highway 2000, which represents an investment of US$610 million over the next three years, will create growth in income and employment.
Additionally, China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC),the parent company for China Harbour, has recently established a global investment arm and is looking for investment opportunities. In this regard, CCCC will be establishing an office in Kingston, headed by a vice president.
The Finance Minister also said that the development of eight vertically integrated Agro Parks will be accelerated so as to stabilise the agricultural supply chain, increase competitive import substitution and activate un-utilised rural land and labour offers tremendous opportunities.
“Producing more of our own food will both improve our national food security and significantly reduce our import bill,” Dr. Phillips said.
In terms of tourism, the Minister also informed that Riu Palace in Montego Bay leads a number of hotels in a major expansion programme of additional hotel rooms, which are now at various stages of construction and completion.
The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) will also be building 300,000 sq. ft. of space for Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and logistics-related activities over the next three years. Funding is also available from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) for potential investors to finance/support the construction of ICT facilities.
This past year the DBJ advanced approximately US$20 million for ICT projects, which represents more than 10,000 jobs.
“We will continue to promote the opportunities for medium, small and micro enterprises because when all is said and done the Jamaican people have time and time again, demonstrated tremendous capacity to start and develop new businesses and to make our mark in establishing solid world class businesses,” Dr. Phillips said.
He urged the country to “seize this opportunity presented in the midst of the difficult challenges created by our oversized public debt to reform our economy and set the foundations for a new and exciting phase in Jamaica’s journey of independence and progress.”
“Let us seize the moment, not just for ourselves but for future generations,” he stated.