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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the Government is to commence the construction of a 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Naggo Head, St. Catherine, to help bolster the country’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
Making the announcement today (June 15), at a press conference at his office on St. Lucia Avenue, in New Kingston, Mr. Samuda said the facility would be built at a cost of approximately $700 million.
The Minister said he expected that construction of the massive property would begin by November 2010, with a completion deadline of September 2011. He further informed that the facility would be built on lands owned by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica.
Mr. Samuda noted that over the years, the ICT industry has emerged as a sector with great potential for Jamaica, with investors showing a solid interest in establishing businesses in the country.
However, he said there was insufficient space for the establishment of these businesses and as such, the Government has committed to developing the Naggo Head industrial site to expand the level of inventory available to accommodate the ICT sector.
“The request for proposal to consultants and terms of reference for the project has already been completed. We hope to complete the evaluation of proposals by August 20, for submission to Cabinet by October 15,” he added.
Mr. Samuda further informed that the facility would be the first of its kind and that the Government planned to establish other similar buildings in the future. He said the ICT sector possessed tremendous potential for the development of Jamaica, particularly in the area of employment.
“The ICT sector offers great employment opportunities for Jamaicans, especially our young people and it is not just the routine kind of activity, but we are now going to the stage where we will see a higher end type of employment – programming – and all that goes with it,” he informed.
“The signs are very good that this is perhaps the best route to take to create the jobs in the shortest possible time,” the Minister added.