JIS News

Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson, has said that government’s move to maximize the country’s potential through the development of critical sectors such as bauxite and alumina and information communication technology, would prove a catalyst for economic growth.
He noted that for growth to be realized, Gross Domestic Product must be increased by at least four per cent, while the rate of unemployment, which now stood at 16 per cent, must be brought down to single digit. He said that the government was committed to achieving the targets.
Dr. Robertson, who was speaking to members of the diplomatic corps at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kingston on January 27, said that the significant developments in the tourism and hospitality industry should help to keep the unemployment situation from escalating.
Meanwhile, he said that an investor friendly environment was key in attracting the necessary investments to move the country forward. He pointed to a number of projects in manufacturing, tourist and agriculture, which were already in the planning stage, but said that, “we need to have a long pipeline of projects and that pipeline needs to be flowing.”
“There are a number of projects, which are coming to fruition, and part of the challenge is to keep that pipeline full and to keep the projects flowing from it,” he stressed.
He noted however, that there was a lot of interest from the Europeans and mentioned the US$800 million investment in bauxite expansion, which will provide some 2,500 jobs and add some US$300 million in earnings each year.
Dr. Robertson said further, that it was imperative that the planning process for the implementation of any project be meticulous, to avoid degradation of the environment and further negative situations.
“If we don’t grab hold of the planning process now, we are going to have a horrendous environmental and human problem that is going to affect our product and have negative effects on our ability to grow in the way we need to grow,” he stated.
Turning to improvement of the road infrastructure, Dr. Robertson said that Ministry of Water and Housing and the various sector interests, were paying particular attention to these road projects, to ensure that the demands for water and housing could be met along the development corridors and to minimize squatting.

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