Finance Minister Outlines Opportunities with Debt Reduction

Photo: Dave Reid Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, emphasises a point while addressing the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s (PSOJ) annual economic forum, held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says that as Jamaica’s debt is reduced, more opportunities will become available, particularly for local private investments.
  • Speaking at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) annual economic forum held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the Minister said developments associated with ongoing debt reduction and Jamaica’s overall economic reform programme are expected to further increase the level of capital available for investments.
  • Dr. Clarke said the involvement of a “dynamic” private sector will be pivotal to Jamaica’s attainment of resilient and sustainable economic independence from external funding support.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says that as Jamaica’s debt is reduced, more opportunities will become available, particularly for local private investments.

Speaking at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) annual economic forum held recently at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the Minister said developments associated with ongoing debt reduction and Jamaica’s overall economic reform programme are expected to further increase the level of capital available for investments.

Dr. Clarke said the involvement of a “dynamic” private sector will be pivotal to Jamaica’s attainment of resilient and sustainable economic independence from external funding support.

The Minister, who reiterated that the Government will be bringing “attractive” investment opportunities to the market, emphasised the need for the private sector to display the level of “entrepreneurial energy that doesn’t see limits or boundaries… but takes advantage of what we have here to transform our environment”.

Among these opportunities, the Minister said, is Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester, which is at an “advanced stage of the divestment process”.

He indicated that the facility will be divested via the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), adding that the policy underpinning this “will be to ensure that there is broad participation”.

Dr. Clarke also cited the transformation of National Heroes Circle in Kingston to Government Square, with the construction of a complex of public offices as well as commercial and residential space.

The Minister further highlighted the Administration’s plans for new town centre developments, beginning with the Morant Bay Town Centre in St. Thomas.

This will feature a combination of office space for the Municipal Corporation and various government bodies, as well as commercial enterprises, such as business process outsourcing (BPO).

Dr. Clarke also pointed to other opportunities in the energy sector, noting that with the commissioning of multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas plants being developed by the Jamaica Public Service and Jamalco, over the next two years, “our energy costs are on track to becoming even more competitive”.

Coupled with these, the Minister said, are facilitatory factors, such as interest rates on loans, “which have never been as low as they are today”.

Dr. Clarke argued that the private sector “must take advantage of this new paradigm,” by not only tapping into the opportunities facilitated by Government, “but must generate its own assets through its own projects”.

“We are in a new era… a time of unprecedented opportunities… and we need a generation of risk-takers that represent our best chance of enduring and lasting economic resilience,” he said.

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