Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says sustained investments are needed to underpin economic growth, if the targets under the Government’s medium term programme, for which financing is being negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are to be achieved.
Addressing the weekly luncheon of the Kingston Rotary Club at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on November 15, Dr. Phillips said to attract the investments needed, several projects and initiatives are either in the process of being embarked on, or fast-tracked.
These, he informed, include: settling on plans for the installation of new capacity to boost the country’s main power generating company’s capability to provide an additional 360 megawatts on the national grid.
Additionally, he said the administration has decided on the way forward as regards diversification of Jamaica’s fuel sources incorporating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) "as an additional source."
He said further details of this will be provided in the near future by Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.
Dr. Phillips also advised that several major public sector infrastructure projects are also being “fast-tracked." These include the North-South Highway Link, which will connect Kingston with Ocho Rios, St. Ann, thereby providing an alternative to the Mount Rossser road in St. Catherine.
He disclosed that come next week, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is scheduled to launch the project’s re-start and extension, “which had originally begun under her watch, in 2007."
The Finance Minister pointed out that negotiations regarding expansion of the island’s seaport facilities are “far advanced,” and that Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, is leading the privatisation discussions with potential bidders with respect to contracts for the management of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT).
“Feasibility work is (also) now being done for an additional port and with respect to a logistics centre, which I believe represents one of the transformative investment opportunities which can transform, not just the economy of our main capital city (of Kingston), but indeed, of the entire country,” Dr. Phillips said.
Regarding privatisation of several State-run entities and facilities, the Minister assured that this process is being accelerated. As for the Norman Manley International Airport, he advised that Cabinet, at its meeting on November 12, “settled” on the composition of the Enterprise Team that will pilot conclusion of the negotiations.
Dr. Phillips was also optimistic that in the very near future, Clarendon Alumina Partners (CAP) will be “off our books,” so that it no longer remains a “cost of government.” Negotiations to this end is “fast proceeding,” the Minister added.