JIS News

Government is to divest a number of companies in which it has full or part ownership.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding in making the announcement in Parliament on December 17 said the companies to be divested are: Clarendon Aluminum Productions, Port of Kingston, the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), National Road and Operating Construction Company (NROCC), Central Waste Water Treatment Plant, Air Jamaica, the Montego Bay Convention Center, the Sugar Company of Jamaica, Sabina Park, the Trelawny Stadium and shares in the Jamaica Public Service Company.
Mr. Golding said the government has equity in Clarendon Aluminum Productions but the company has accumulated debt that the government has to bring to finality. “We are looking at the option of divesting the shares that the government has and to see to what extent we can offset the amount that is owed for our share of capital investment, offset that debt and have it liquidated”.
“We have taken a decision at Cabinet just last week to appoint a team to pursue the privatization of the NMIA. The method that was used for the Sangster International Airport was a good method and we intend to pursue that”, he said.
With regards to the Montego Bay Convention Center, the PM says that it is going to require a subsidy unless some other arrangements can be made to relieve the government of the burden. He added that the Trelawny Stadium costs about US$25 to $30 million for servicing and is not generating income.
Updating the House about Petrojam, Mr. Golding said the cost to pursue that project was originally estimated at US $600 million before its design work. He added that the design work is almost completed and it would cost the country US $1.2 billion to pursue the project.
“Given our fiscal situation it is just not possible for us to assume that kind of liability” the PM said while noting that this information was provided to the Venezuelans, who in conjunction with Jamaica developed the Petrojam project.
Mr. Golding has asked the Foreign Affairs Minister to convey to the Venezuelans, the difficulty that the government is experiencing. He said the government would not be able to pursue the project as originally planned but was anxious to find alternative strategies.

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