JIS News

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Development, Dennis Morrison, has said that Jamaica would only be able to increase and maintain global competitive advantage, if investment was encouraged and sustained.
Mr. Morrison, who spoke on ‘The Link between Infrastructural Development and Investment’ at the final in a series of five Government Communications Group-organised panel discussions held on March 9 at the Office of the Prime Minister, said “it is vital to recognize that the critical underpinning of building competitive advantage is investment, [and] investment is the prime mover in the growth of the Jamaican economy.”
For Jamaica to increase investment, Mr. Morrison said, there must be significant improvement in the country’s profitability, including the development of physical infrastructure.
According to the Technical Director, one of the primary reasons for the decrease in investment in the region, was the “loss of momentum in its infrastructural development”.
“In order to increase competitive advantage, we must increase investment in a range of areas, including physical infrastructure…and by improving the physical infrastructure we increase profitability, which then feeds new rounds of investment, thus a virtuous cycle is created,” he explained.
Pointing to major expansion work being undertaken at the Port of Kingston, Mr. Morrison noted that this was partly as a result of earlier developments at the port, which increased its competitiveness.
“It is the platform created by investment in infrastructure, which has given businessmen the confidence that we have an environment that ensures that they can be competitive,” he emphasised.
Cognizant of the survey results issued by the World Bank, which emphasized the critical role that government and private sector must play for significant infrastructural development to take place, Mr. Morrison said that this understanding had impacted the formulation of Jamaica’s policy framework, as it related to infrastructural development.
He noted that unlike the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region, “Jamaica has managed to attract private sector investment to support the rapid expansion and transformation of its infrastructure… [as] a crucial ingredient of the policy framework has been the privatization of the operations of key infrastructure areas.”
In this regard, he said that a number of areas were experiencing significant investment in infrastructural development amounting to some US$3.5 billion.
These projects include the expansion of the Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports, the Kingston Port, construction of Highway 2000, the North Coast Highway, water supply projects at Martha Brae and Great River in Trelawny and Hanover, respectively, as well as the construction of an extensive sewer system at Soapberry in Kingston and St. Andrew.

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