Finance and Planning Minister, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, says the Government will be pursuing vigorous implementation of a number of projects, which are expected to yield significant foreign direct investments (FDIs) for Jamaica, during the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Chief among these are the North/South Highway link between Angels, St. Catherine and Ocho Rios, St. Ann, and enhancement of the island’s port facilities, he disclosed, while delivering the opening presentation in the 2012/13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on May 24.
In his address, entitled: ‘A New and Binding Covenant for Stability, Equitable Growth and Prosperity’, Dr. Phillips said the administration’s decision regarding the projects is part of efforts to prepare the country to take advantage of its strategic location, and the possibilities arising from the expansion of the Panama Canal.
He explained that FDI inflows provide “a well needed boost” for infrastructure development, and that the specific investments, which provide significant “backward linkages,” will have a “multiplier effect” on economic development.
“That is why the Cabinet has put, on a fast track, the exploratory studies in relation to the Fort Augusta port project and the improvements for the new terminal. Cabinet is committed to ensuring that nothing impedes the prospect of faster growth, even faster than we have programmed for, in this special period of economic challenge,” the Minister assured.
Dr. Phillips also announced a number of tourism projects which are expected to get underway this year. These include the US$500 million expansion at the Fiesta Hotel; construction of a Marriott Hotel in Kingston; and expansion of the Riu Hotel in Montego Bay.
“In addition to the hotels that I have named, there are expressions of interest in (developing) an additional 2,000 hotel rooms, and we are going to do everything that we can do to facilitate those investors, because we want to get Jamaica growing. The Government will expand projects in the public sector and the private sector…and we will give them all our support,” the Minister said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter