Divestment of NMIA Seen as Excellent Example of Public-Private Partnership

Story Highlights

  • Divestment of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) is being touted as an excellent example of an innovative approach to developing, promoting and executing infrastructural projects with private-sector participation.
  • Eight firms have expressed interest in assuming the management of the airport’s operations for an agreed period. These bidders were selected earlier this year, following an international invitation for bids.
  • Under the arrangement, the successful bidder will agree to a 25-year concession, with the option to extend for five years by mutual consent. The company is also expected to pay an upfront fee of US$5 million.

Divestment of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) is being touted as an excellent example of an innovative approach to developing, promoting and executing infrastructural projects with private-sector participation.

This is according to Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation, Canadian High Commission, and Representative, Global Affairs, Canada, Walter Bernyck, who noted that this private-public partnership (PPP) approach has worked well in Canada and is increasingly useful in the Caribbean.

He was addressing a Bidders Conference for the divestment of the NMIA on the grounds of the facility in Kingston on September 26.

Eight firms have expressed interest in assuming the management of the airport’s operations for an agreed period.

These bidders were selected earlier this year, following an international invitation for bids.

Mr. Bernyck noted that Canada supports this private-public partnership opportunity through the PPP component of a CAN$20-million investment with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) called Partnership for CARICOM Private Sector Development.

“Through this project under the IFC, Canada is helping to support legal, technical and other advisors who have provided technical support to the Government of Jamaica for the NMIA PPP transaction,” he noted.

Canada partners with the IFC in the delivery of technical and advisory assistance to companies and partner governments, with the aim of reducing poverty through private-sector growth.

The partnership focuses on improving investment climates, mobilising private-sector investment and building out the capacity of small and medium-size enterprises.

In the meantime, Chairman, NMIA, Paul B. Scott, said investors now in the bidding for the divestment of the airport stand to benefit greatly from the venture.

“This represents a great opportunity… to invest in an asset that will give you great returns for an extended period of time,” he said.

He said the divestment of the NMIA is a “very exciting prospect”, noting that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Airports Authority of Jamaica, and the Government are looking forward to the development that will come with the investment from the bidders.

“We are very confident about the commercial prospects of the airport, and we are very excited about working with all of the bidders who have pre-qualified, because we know that the outcome for Jamaica, whoever wins, is going to be very positive,” Mr. Scott said.

Under the arrangement, the successful bidder will agree to a 25-year concession, with the option to extend for five years by mutual consent. The company is also expected to pay an upfront fee of US$5 million.

Concessionaire responsibilities focus on the commercial operations, financing and completing required works, operating the airport and improving efficiency, and maintaining and refurbishing the airport facilities.

A preferred bidder is expected to be selected and announced by March 2018.

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