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  • The Government, through the National Insurance Fund (NIF), is currently pursuing the possibility of a major investment in a cement plant.
  • The project could see the generation of 450 new jobs for Jamaicans.
  • This venture is being explored, given that a key component of the Fund, currently valued at $67.5 billion, is now dedicated to job creation.

The Government, through the National Insurance Fund (NIF), is currently pursuing the possibility of a major investment in a cement plant, which could see the generation of 450 new jobs for Jamaicans.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 28.

He said this venture is being explored, given that a key component of the Fund, currently valued at $67.5 billion, is now dedicated to job creation. Also built into the Fund’s core objectives are increasing export, and promoting the practice of import substitution.

The Minister noted that going forward, the NIF will continue to partner with agencies, such as the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), to develop job creating projects.

“For example, the Fund is a member of the investor panel which has been created by the DBJ to evaluate and invest in businesses which make proposals for venture capital funding,” he said.

He further pointed out that the Fund is currently lending money to the DBJ for on-lending to the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector under a $1.5 billion loan programme.

Discussions are also underway with JAMPRO regarding the development of space for the outsourcing/Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, either on lands already owned by the NIF or other Greenfield investments.

In the meantime, the Minister noted that during the 2014/2015 financial year, the Fund will also target three entities and groups, “where the need for financing remains largely underserved, namely, the creative industries, persons with disabilities, and the youth.”

“Loans are currently being structured for persons in these groups, which are affordable and are designed to encourage entrepreneurship,” he said.