Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hytlon, said the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) will need to be restructured with new expertise identified, to better enable the entity to carry out some critical development projects over the next two to three years.
These projects, which are expected to provide job opportunities for at least 20,000 individuals by January 2015, will transform Jamaica into the global logistics hub of the Americas.
They include completion of the Caymanas Economic Zone and making it fully operational by 2014 – 15; development of the Portmore Informatics Park over the period 2013-2015 to create 750,000 square feet of Business Process Outsourcing and Information Communications Technology Space; and the improvement of existing facilities and expanding capacity within the period 2013-2015.
"It is evident that the organisation will require some amount of restructuring so as to enable it to achieve the stated goals and objectives while, at the same time, not neglecting its current responsibilities,” Mr. Hylton said.
"New talents and skills will have to be identified and sourced to boost the organisational capacity of FCJ. Also, we have to align the entity with universities/HEART and other training institutions to ensure the production of a critical mass of logistics professionals,” he added, as he addressed the FCJ’s Silver Anniversary Awards banquet held on December 6 at the Wyndham Kingston hotel.
He said that the organization will have to be renamed and rebranded by March 2013, so as to take into consideration, its expanded mandate and the shift to a new paradigm.
"Also, there is a need to boost organisational capacity by December 2013, so as to adequately deliver the CEZ and the Portmore Informatics Park. Vital also is the improvement of the Montego Bay Free zone, the maintenance of existing facilities and the development of pioneering projects,” he stated.
The Minister said that the FCJ has every intention of implementing a board subcommittee with specific responsibility for the CEZ and the Portmore Informatics Park. He further noted that the Ministry will be examining the outsourcing of critical projects and the implementation of an internal special projects function to ensure timely completion.
“The FCJ will move speedily to have contracts executed with at least one company to commence operations on the CEZ and Portmore Informatics Park by December 2013 and others thereafter,” he informed.
He added that the nation can be assured that the FCJ is positioning itself to participate in the growth that is to come from the logistics hub initiative.
"Specifically, FCJ will be facilitating the projected economic growth and the attendant job creation through the development and leasing of factory spaces to private sector companies," Mr. Hylton said.
He noted that the logistics hub will serve as a supply-chain optimising platform that will significantly enhance Jamaica's competitive advantage by speeding up the turnaround time and reduce the cost of doing business.
It will also strengthen the country's efforts to boost growth in niche-manufacturing sector,in areas such as agro-processing and light manufacturing of items such as medical devices, which are fast becoming big business in today’s world.
Incorporated in 1987, with a primary mandate to implement the Government’s Emergency Factory Building Programme, the FCJ has grown exponentially, and is now the largest provider of industrial and commercial factory space.
In the initial phase, approximately one million square feet of factory space was built and at present, the FCJ has control over just under two million square feet of factory space and in excess of 83 hectares (205 acres) of vacant lands across Jamaica.