• JIS News

    The Bank of Nova Scotia will be offering a $600 million special loan programme in support of the Government’s thrust to further job and wealth creation, to be disbursed through the Development Bank of Jamaica.
    Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the disclosure today (May 9), during her first contribution, as Prime Minister, to the 2006/07 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
    Of this amount, Mrs. Simpson Miller said $250 million would be provided to the agricultural sector over a seven year period at a rate of 7.625 per cent per annum for on-lending through the People’s Co-operative Bank to assist small farmers.
    In addition, $350 million will be provided to the tourism sector for seven years at an interest rate of eight per cent per annum for on-lending to small hotels.
    The Prime Minister said the initiative, which was a major one, would go a far way to boosting smaller entrepreneurs. “We are not just talking about giving the people a chance and about building wealth,” she emphasised.
    Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Government itself would be pumping some $250 million into agriculture, with another $145 million being spent on irrigation, expansion of green house construction and hydrophonics.
    “In the rural diversification programme, we are spending $90 million and in special projects in agriculture, including tree crops, goat rearing, apiculture, bee-keeping and ornamental fish, we are spending an additional $150 million. We are going to be spending $160 million to expand production of thyme, pepper, vegetables and other crops of interest to small farmers,” she pointed out.
    The Prime Minister said through the investments in agriculture, it was projected that some 2,500 jobs would be created.
    “We are not just talking about giving people a chance, we are doing something practical about it,” she told the House.
    Turning to the recent developments in the hotel sector, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that with the 12,000 new rooms to be commissioned, in addition to the 2,000 already in operation since the introduction of the Tourism Master Plan, some 25,000 permanent new jobs would be created.
    In the Mining sector, the Prime Minister said the first phase of the JAMALCo expansion was underway. “In investment dollars, this will be the single biggest project in our country’s history. At the peak of implementation, it will employ nearly 3,000 construction workers,” Mrs. Simpson Miller noted.