JIS News

Government Senator Noel Sloley has said that major investments in the tourism sector were still on target, and would result in 12,000 new direct jobs and 24,000 indirect jobs within the next five years.The Senator made the statement at Friday’s (October 15) sitting of the Senate in Gordon House.
Mr. Sloley told his colleagues that all the major investors who had committed to construct 5,000 to 7,000 new hotel rooms had given reassurances of their commitment to these projects.
He noted that one such hotel was under construction in Mammee Bay, and another would have ground breaking on October 22, in Montego Bay. A third he said had received outline approval, while a fourth had settled on a set of planning guidelines. “They have a very unique hotel that they’re bringing to Jamaica,” Mr. Sloley said.
The impact on employment, he noted, would be a very positive one. He said that 5,000 new rooms over the next five years, would create approximately 2,500 construction jobs. It would also generate about 10,000 to 12,000 new jobs directly, upon completion, and another 24,000 to 30,000 indirect jobs.
Among the economic impacts of these investments, he said, was the addition of several billion dollars of foreign direct investment, the generation of 400,000 “long stay” visitors, and the generation of critical volume to ensure future viability of the national carrier, Air Jamaica.
“And it will turn our industry into a 2.5 billion gross tourism dollars per annum [industry],” he stated. Speaking to the linkage effects of this kind of investment in the tourism industry, the Senator said that the expansion in rooms would create an additional demand of US$43 million for local agricultural produce, and an additional US$78 million in purchases from the manufacturing sector.
Senator Sloley then addressed the issue of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, noting that some sectors of the society had called for its postponement. He pointed out that the Fund “is something that the industry has lobbied for over many, many, many, years.
It is a fund that the industry wants for sustainable beautification, restoration of our historical and cultural heritage sites, and the provision of proper maintenance and management to these sites that have fallen into disrepair,” he stressed. “This is something we should have had years ago,” he added.
In putting forward other possibilities for enhancing the growth of the economy, the Senator suggested that the Government lower the income tax rate.
He pointed out that Jamaicans had billions of dollars in banks locally, in Miami, Cayman, and in the Bahamas and that the government should find a way to encourage repatriation of some of this capital without penalty, to facilitate investment in real business and ensure that the country realized and certain economic growth.
“We believe that the key to increasing foreign direct and local investment, is a combination of the highest before tax return, with the lowest, and most certain corporate tax rate for a non-tax haven,” he said. This, he added, should be combined with the best, easiest and quickest value for money legal system, regulatory environment and government services in the region.

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