$800-b investment projects to provide 80,000 jobs

The Government is exploring several proposed investment projects valued at approximately $800 billion, which are expected to create 80,000 jobs.

This was disclosed by Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, during yesterday’s Post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

He said some of the proposed investments are far advanced, noting that the country will be updated as the developments and investments unfold.

“Based on what I have seen coming into office and also what has happened in terms of the renewed appetite for investments in Jamaica… I commit that I will give an update in short order of actual committed investments and implementation dates,” he said.

He said the Government stands ready to assist any investor, local or foreign, small or large that needs assistance in terms of getting their investment going to create jobs.

In the meantime, he said discussions are under way with a private investor who has interest to develop 50,000 square feet of commercial and warehouse space on South Camp Road.

 “He gave me the commitment this morning that that will start this year, which obviously will not only have construction jobs, but it will have jobs based on the commercial activities that will take place,” he said.

He further noted that the investor indicated that other lands located on South Camp Road will also be used to develop 100,000 square feet of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space as soon as the necessary approvals are granted.

“Those are the types of partnerships that will drive the growth agenda of this country,” he said.

Speaking on the matter during his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Vaz said the investments span various sectors and consist of public and private partnerships.

“This ministry is faced with the unique situation of having too many economically viable projects stuck in the pipeline. We aim to remove the barriers and get these projects off the ground while we redouble our efforts to attract new investments to achieve the five-in-four growth target set by the Economic Growth Council,” he said.

Alluding to some of the projects, he said the ministry has facilitated talks between the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and PA Benjamin, to expand factory space to increase productive capacity. The total amount to be invested for this project is approximately US$25 million.

Another project he said is being undertaken by the Heineken Group, which will see US$31.5 million being invested between 2016 and 2020 in a Cassava Project Grow. The project aims to develop a sustainable cassava starch supply chain with some 3,000 acres of cassava under cultivation and agro-processing capacity of 100 root tons/day.