The Government, through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), will be making some US $20 million available this financial year, to facilitate the construction of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centres.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, who made the announcement as he opened the 2013/14 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on April 18, said that these facilities will create some 7,000 to 8,000 jobs for Jamaicans.
He said the provision of the funds follows a similar commitment, last year, which has largely been taken up.
“These estimates do not include other jobs to be provided in this sector by non-DBJ investments,” he stated.
Dr. Phillips noted that there is no limit to what Jamaica can achieve in ICT and urged private investors to enter the sector boldly.
The Finance Minister also encouraged the local private sector to invest in the Logistics Hub Initiative. The project, which seeks to take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal, due for completion in 2015, will start with a phased roll out by the end of this fiscal year, and is expected to be completed in 2015/16.
The Finance Minister informed that the initiative will be facilitated, in the first instance, by the privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal. It will involve the completion of the port system, which will electronically integrate and streamline export and import procedures, he said.
“It will facilitate an overall improvement in trading practices and lower the cost of doing business in Jamaica’s ports. Ultimately, we aim to achieve the paperless processing of transshipment activities,” Dr. Phillips pointed out.
He noted that establishing Jamaica as a Logistics Hub will require significant investments in the sea and air ports as well as the industrial infrastructure and will involve a wide cross section of public and private sector interests.
Dr. Phillips spoke under the theme: ‘Restoring hope…Expanding opportunity’.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter