ADDRESS BY THE MOST HON PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, PRIME MINSITER OF JAMAICA AT COMMISSIONING CEREMONY FOR JAMAICA/BRAZIL ETHANOL DEHYDRATION PLANT


I am proud and overjoyed to participate in this milestone event, so fittingly marked by the presence of the distinguished President of Brazil.
On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I extend to you Mr. President, the First Lady and your delegation a warm Jamaican welcome. Your visit underscores the commitment of the Brazilian government to further deepen our excellent bilateral relations.
It is this shared commitment that led me to visit your country last year, only a few months after I assumed office. The warmth of your people and your gracious hospitality made me feel at home in Brazil. Your Excellency, I am so happy to host you in my beautiful country which has so much in common with Brazil.
As you are aware Mr. President, we in the developing world must form mutually beneficial links of co-operation to broaden and grow our economies.
Finding appropriate and affordable sources of energy is a major challenge for countries like ours. It is a challenge we must tackle in order to increase production, improve productivity and compete globally.
Jamaica depends far too heavily on imported oil as our source of energy. Our oil bill has risen dramatically over the last five years as oil prices continue to increase and there seems to be no end in sight. Last year our oil bill was 1.7 billions US dollars.
The transportation sector uses 41% of our fuel imports, followed by the bauxite and alumina production sector which accounts for 35% and electricity power generation takes up another 19%.
Mr. President, the challenge we face is the efficient use of available resources as we explore alternative sources such as wind, solar and hydro energy. It is the policy of my government to develop alliances with traditional as well as new partners to find alternative sources of energy that are cost effective and more friendly to the environment.
It is this kind of collaboration why we are here today. This Ethanol Dehydration Plant shows us how private sector companies in different countries can come together to foster entrepreneurship.
Jamaica Broilers Group has blazed the trail and is an example to other private sector companies. It has invested over 1.3 billion dollars in this ground breaking project. The plant and equipment were supplied by the Brazilian company Dedini and another Brazilian company Bauche Energy will provide the raw materials needed.
This Ethanol Dehydration Plant can produce 60 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol annually.
Ethanol has become an important transportation fuel in the United States, Canada, and some parts of Central America where more and more it is being mixed with gasoline. These are ready made markets to which this Jamaica Broilers can supply ethanol and earn valuable foreign exchange.
The increased interest and use of ethanol as fuel holds much promise for the viability of our ailing sugar industry. I therefore, welcome the news that locally produced ethanol feedstock using Jamaican sugar cane can be processed by this facility. This will provide an important plank in the privatisation strategy of our sugar assets.
To the team at Jamaica Broilers, my pride in your accomplishments grew even more when I learnt that this project was completed in record time and within budget. Congratulations! We are so proud of you.
This kind of bold entrepreneurial spirit is an example of what private sector companies can achieve if they take full advantage of the favourable business environment that has been created by enlightened Government policies.
I urge other players in the private sector to follow the lead of the Jamaica Broilers Group and seize the profitable opportunities which are opening up within and outside the energy sector. I have instructed the Minister to ensure that his Ministry gives full support to any private sector company that shows an interest in this area.
As we move full speed ahead toward developed country status we have put in place a bold and revolutionary energy policy. It includes achieving a 20% use of renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar by 2020. In keeping with this policy, also, by next year, all gasoline in Jamaica will have a 10% ethanol mix.
The introduction of ethanol in gasoline is good for Jamaica. We will save foreign exchange; it is good for the environment; we are producing it here in Jamaica and your vehicle will perform the same way.
Mr President, I am so happy that you are in Jamaica to witness this collaboration between the private sectors of our two countries.
You and I have so much in common. We are from humble beginnings and our great motivation is to serve the poor and marginalised and create opportunities that will improve their lives and that of their families. We also share a commitment to the development of our country driven by a vibrant private sector working hand in hand with government to make development happen and to improve our economies.
May the bonds between our countries grow from strength to strength and may God bless you and the people of Brazil.
I thank you.

JIS Social