Finance Minister Signs Loan Agreement for Convention Centre in Mo-Bay


Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies and officials of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of China this morning officially signed a concessionary loan agreement for US$51.67 million for the construction of the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Plans for the Convention Centre were outlined by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in her 2007/08 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on May 1. The Government of Jamaica will provide counterpart financing of approximately US$6.45 million, while the Ex-Im Bank of China will put up US$45.22 million. Construction will last for 18 months. The loan will be for 20 years, inclusive of a five-year moratorium, starting from the effective date of the agreement, and the interest rate will be two per cent per annum, paid in 31 equal installments. The loan will attract a management fee of one per cent and a commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum. Speaking at the signing, which took place at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, Dr. Davies explained that the construction of the centre had become necessary because, “Jamaica, despite its importance as a tourism destination, is very limited in terms of its capability of hosting major conventions. The Jamaica conference centre is the principal facility at present, but that’s located in Kingston, while the tourism rooms are some distance away.”
“For conferences held in Kingston, the Conference Centre provides much more than adequate facilities, while in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, there are limited facilities in that regard,” he added. Dr. Davies expressed confidence that the construction company would complete the centre on time, given its record with the Trelawny multi-purpose stadium. “I have no doubt that this facility will be completed in budget and on time, as per the agreement,” he stated. The convention centre will be built on 23 acres of land at Rose Hall and will provide just under 300,000 square feet of rooms for meeting, exhibitions and event-type occasions. In his remarks, Assistant President of the Ex-Im Bank of China, Zhu Xinqiang said the bank stood ready to “provide continuous financial support and services for promoting economic co-operation between China and Caribbean countries, especially the friendly co-operation between China and Jamaica.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, Chen Jinghau in a statement on the agreement, said the convention centre would, upon completion, become the hub for a wide range of functions in Jamaica, and serve as an economic development tool to attract to Montego Bay, conventions, trade shows and other gatherings from within and outside Jamaica.

JIS Social