Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller this afternoon said that the government would reward private sector initiatives that would increase the number of qualified workers in the country. Mrs Simpson Miller was congratulating the Directors of Lasco Manufacturing at the ground breaking ceremony for a $2.1 billion (US$24 million) plant at White Marl in St. Catherine.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller challenged business leaders to partner with government towards increasing employment. She said, "today I am throwing out one simple challenge to all business leaders. I am asking you to put at least one qualified Jamaican who is unemployed back into the productive enterprise. Let us call it Jamaica Employ and let us advance this partnership for our national development."
She further said if each business could employ one individual, 40 thousand persons would be employed over the short term. "If the businesses will provide employment for the people, then the government commits to reward efforts when you do business with us," the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller praised the founder of the Lasco Group, Mr. Lascelles Chin and his team saying that the new plant was "good economic news" for the country. She also said that she expected the expansion of Lasco Manufacturing to help to increase locally manufactured goods, and also to reduce imports.
In his remarks, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, said that government is focussed on eliminating obstacles to economic growth, in particular reducing the cost of electricity. He also said that government would support local businesses in its purchases.
The event also allowed Mrs. Simpson Miller to see Lasco's warehouse facilities first hand during a tour. The warehouse currently holds up to 1,000 palettes of goods.