Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the three mega investment projects to be implemented by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, will stimulate growth and generate employment opportunities.
The projects are: the North-South link of Highway 2000; modernisation of the Kingston Container Terminal, and development of a new container terminal at Fort Augusta.
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Making her contribution to the 2012/13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on June 5, the Prime Minister noted that the North to South leg of the Highway 2000, which began in 2007, entails construction of a Toll Highway linking Mandela Highway to the Linstead bypass, which then leads to Mount Rosser to Moneague, and on to Ocho Rios.
“The construction of the toll way will open up several development opportunities in the central part of the country. In addition, this will significantly cut travel time and save energy. We are talking about an investment which will result in over US$720 million being pumped into this economy,” she said.
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Additionally, she said discussions with the investors include the development of housing and commercial areas served by the corridor.
Turning to the modernisation of the existing Kingston Container Terminal, Mrs. Simpson Miller said it will allow Jamaica to leverage its geographic position and take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“We will negotiate to get the best deal for Jamaica, as we will not allow this significant opportunity to pass us by,” she said.
The Prime Minster noted that the third mega project relates to the proposed further development of a new container terminal on lands at Fort Augusta. “These lands will be used for the expansion of the Kingston Container Terminal and will be twinned with the planned establishment of a Free Zone facility on lands at Caymanas,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said that the Government is committed to working closely with international partners, including members of the private sector from France, China, Brazil, as well as traditional partners from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
“I invite all of us in this House and across Jamaica to support these projects. I encourage our private sector to be prepared to take full advantage of these opportunities,” she said.
In the meantime, she said partnership with the Jamaican Diaspora is critical to opening doors and enabling participation in investments at home.
“We are now actively engaged in negotiations for many other projects in the ICT and Tourism sectors. The respective portfolio Ministers will elaborate on these opportunities in their presentations during the Sectoral Debate,” the Prime Minister informed.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter