Finance Minister Defends Discussions in Sale of JPSCo


Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies has defended the manner in which discussions were conducted by Mirant Corporation to sell its 80 per cent shareholding in the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), to the Japanese firm, Marubeni.
Responding to the Opposition’s call for public scrutiny of the negotiations leading to the sale of the JPSCo, the Finance Minister pointed out that, until an agreement in principle has been reached between seller and potential buyer, any public utterance on such a negotiation could lead to criminal charges, as millions of dollars could be made through access to such confidential information, whether the prospects are positive or negative. The Finance Minister was making his closing presentation in the 2007/08 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on May 2.
To allay fears of the Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Mr. Audley Shaw, who in his budget presentation said that the JPSCo was being sold to “some other company in some far away place,” Dr. Davies noted that, “Marubeni Corporation is one of the big corporations in Japan and indeed the world, with a revenue base of US$26.8 billion with gross profit being US$4.4 billion and has operations in 72 countries worldwide.”
Additionally, Dr. Davies said the country should ensure that the rules governing the operations of the entities not only protect the rights of consumers, but also provide an attractive environment within which investors, domestic and external, wish to do business. Continuing, the Finance Minister informed that the principals of Marubeni have expressed concern at comments expressed locally about the proposed sale. Dr. Davies maintained that, “we need to reassure not just Marubeni, but all potential investors that when we say Jamaica is open for business, we mean it.”
In closing, the Minister appealed for the issues to be viewed dispassionately and as objectively as possible.

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