JIS News

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says final negotiations are taking place with the preferred bidder to complete the divestment of the Wallenford Coffee Company.

The Minister made the revelation on Friday, April 18, while opening the 2013/14 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives under the theme: ‘Restoring Hope – Expanding Opportunity.’

Cabinet, in March, gave approval for the Government to divest its shares in the company, which is Jamaica’s largest processor of green beans originating from the Blue Mountain and high mountain regions, and is the largest exporter of coffee.

“When completed the result will yield savings of over $200 million per year for the Government, which represents the annual loss for the company,” Dr. Phillips told the House.

Dr. Phillips also reiterated plans to privatise a number of state-owned entities, which are deemed under-performing or do not form part of the Government’s core activities. He said the process will be “swift and efficient”.

He noted that already, action was underway on a number of entities, including the Kingston Container Terminal, Norman Manley Airport, Jamaica Railway Corporation, and Caymanas Track Limited.

The Finance Minister further informed that the Government is pursuing plans for either a sale or lease agreement for its shares in the Clarendon Alumina Partners Limited.

“Discussions are actively taking place, and I am cautiously optimistic as to the outcome,” he disclosed.

By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter