Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that the Government would be embarking on the most ambitious road programme ever, over the next four years.
He pointed out that the project, to include the rehabilitation and construction of roads, would be undertaken at a cost of US$460 million (J$40 billion).
Mr. Shaw was delivering the keynote address at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry corporate breakfast forum, held at Secrets Resort and Spa in Freeport, Montego Bay, on July 16.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (left), is greeted by President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Patrick Casserly, as he arrived for a corporate breakfast forum, held at the Secrets Resort and Spa in Freeport, Montego Bay, on July 16.
“Investment in the production of goods and services (across the island) is where it ought to be for the country’s economy, and to that end, the government is committed to a road programme that is the most ambitious road repair programme ever to have entered into by any government, past or present,” the Minister argued.
Mr. Shaw also pointed to the necessity of refurbishing the Palisadoes Road, which has been affected by storm surges and high tides, emphasising that it is not just an ordinary road (that leads to the Norman Manley International Airport and Port Royal), but also protects the shore-line.
The Minister said that what is so pleasing about the programme, is that the interest rate on the principal is 3 per cent and that the repayment period is 15 years.
Commenting on the business climate in the country, Mr. Shaw told the audience that there are positive signs of growth in the economy and that the latest business and consumer confidence report is good.
“With respect to the business climate in Jamaica at this time, the report states that confidence in the Jamaican economy is improving after a disappointing outlook for the first quarter of the year, as measured by the Jamaica Conference Board’s business and consumer confidence indices survey,” the Minister noted.
He appealed to commercial banks to offer money to the private sector to be invested in foreign exchange earning enterprises and projects, in order to build the country.
“I want to indicate that the Bank of Jamaica recently reduced the cash reserve ratio by two per cent, from 14 per cent to 12 per cent, thereby yielding between $4 billion and $5 billion into the economy, and I am asking the commercial banking institutions to start offering money for productive endeavours, start offering money to the private sector to be invested into foreign exchange earning enterprises and projects. We are freeing up money, so that money can be available for investment in the economy,” the Minister said.
In his remarks, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Patrick Casserly commended the Finance Ministry for engendering business confidence in the economy and urged members of the Chamber to continue to contribute to the growth of the economy.