JIS News

The government of Jamaica has entered into an agreement with a Brazilian company, to rehabilitate an idle ethanol-producing plant located at Petrojam’s premises on Marcus Garvey Drive, at a cost of US$7.34 million.
The terms of the three-year agreement (with the option to extend to an additional two years) stipulate that the company, Coimex, will provide the raw material required for the processing of ethanol, and the government will offer a waiver on import duties, government fees, cess, and taxes related to the importation of the material. The first shipment of raw material from the manufacturer arrived in the island in late October.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday (Dec. 6), Minister of Information, Senator Burchell Whiteman, informed that the finished product from the plant would be marketed primarily in the United States, and other suitable markets.
According to the Minister, a number of activities have taken place since the finalisation of the agreement between Petrojam Ethanol Limited and Coimex Trading of Brazil. “The dehydration plant was ordered from a Brazilian company, Dedini Industria De Bas, and Coimex has awarded a contract to a company, Chicago Bridge and Iron, to construct, install and commission the plant as a turnkey contract,” he said.
The Information Minister informed further, that work had begun on the rehabilitation of the plant’s foundation, its storage facilities and utilities. He added that the Ministry of Finance and Planning had received a letter of exemption for all duties connected to the importation of raw material from Brazil up to March 31, 2005. He indicated that after March, the assorted duties would take effect on all importations to the plant.
Responding to queries from the media as to how the government would benefit from an agreement, which seemed tipped in favour of the Brazilian company, Minister Whiteman said, “it is all being funded by the Brazilian interests but Petrojam, nevertheless, will be a shareholder and will participate in the profit sharing.”
The Minister also pointed out that an incentive not to be overlooked was the fact that the non-functional ethanol plant, would become operational once more, and provide Jamaica with the opportunity to break into its own ethanol market locally and abroad.
“Ethanol is becoming a desired fuel for the boater industry because it is more environmentally friendly and is also quite efficient,” he explained.
“At the moment, Brazil produces 4 billion gallons of ethanol every year and it is estimated that in the United States alone, in the past 24 or 25 years, over 2 trillion miles have been driven on ethanol blended fuels. In Brazil, there are vehicles that are using 100 per cent ethanol, and the majority of them are using at least 25 per cent ethanol. So especially in these days of high priced oil, the potential for ethanol is quite significant and Jamaica is very interested in building our capacity in terms of this plant,” Senator Whiteman added.

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