JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government is moving ahead with plans to privatise the National Water Commission (NWC).
  • Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said a 36-month timeline has been set for the agency to be placed on the stock market.
  • The Minister said the move is in line with an overall push by the Government to allow the Jamaican people to have direct ownership of some of the country’s major assets.

The Government is moving ahead with plans to privatise the National Water Commission (NWC).

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said a 36-month timeline has been set for the agency to be placed on the stock market.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Ministry offices at The Towers in New Kingston on July 6.

Dr. Chang said the timeline is to allow for implementation of improvement programmes, including measures to achieve a reduction in non-revenue water.

He informed that the Government plans to maintain controlling interest in the company, with 30 to 49 per cent shares traded publicly.

“This is not about getting rid of the water company. We are looking to change the relationship with the wider Jamaican community. Maintaining majority control is important to have access to multilateral agency funding… but we need a new paradigm to ensure that the governance of the water company is sustained,” he explained.

Dr. Chang said the privatisation of the agency would also lead to improvements in governance, as once on the stock market, the NWC will be subject to certain market rules that are critical to ensuring continuity.

It will also be beneficial in obtaining capital to pay off debts and enable further investments for the development of the NWC.

The Minister said the move is in line with an overall push by the Government to allow the Jamaican people to have direct ownership of some of the country’s major assets.

The NWC has a cash flow of $25 billion per year and a capital investment programme of approximately $40 billion.