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The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) is to float a $1.6-billion bond, to finance construction of some 200-thousand square feet. of ICT factory space.
This was announced in Parliament Tuesday (January 27) by the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, as he outlined a programme to create jobs and boost production, through the expansion of the small business sector and the conversion of factory space from warehousing to manufacturing.
The Minister noted that only 50% of rented Factories Corporation/Free Zone space is now being used for manufacturing purposes.
To shift the focus from warehousing to job creation, he said Government will be divesting some $4 billion in real estate. Proceeds from these sales will be used to build new factories on Government-owned lands, thereby multiplying the job creation effect.
Mr. Samuda said the decision to float the bond came against the background of a demand for ICT facilities, and the recognition that it would be too costly to retrofit existing factory space. His address to Parliament focused on the implications of the IMF agreement for the country’s business community, and measures to be pursued by Government to stimulate business and achieve economic recovery.
Measures to be employed in the manufacturing sector will include the transfer of technology from developing countries.
The Minister said this will involve bringing basic raw material, equipment and templates to Jamaica be assembled.
“At this stage we have to create jobs by using foreign technology, but as time goes by we will be able to create our own technology,” he noted.