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Government committed to infrastructure development — Charles Jr

BY ABBION ROBINSON
Contributor

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Pearnel Charles Jr is giving the commitment of the Government to facilitate investments and innovations in all areas of the economy.

The minister's commitment came while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Private Equity, Infrastructure, SMEs, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Monday last (June 10).

“We're ready to implement the critical infrastructure and to expand our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to boost entrepreneurship,” the minister said. “The expansion and modernisation of infrastructure will allow the Government to fulfil its obligation to provide an environment where business can thrive, big and small.”

Charles Jr then indicated that through the work of both the Public-Private Partnership and Privatisation Programmes (PPPP) and the Venture Capital Unit administered by the DBJ, the Government is able to facilitate private sector-led economic growth.

“Improving our nation's infrastructure will not only create economic opportunities for Jamaicans, but also positively impact the lives through the delivery of public services provided by the infrastructure, creating what we define as a 'virtuous sustainable cycle',” the senator said while adding that the Government of Jamaica has implemented several major infrastructure projects aimed at reducing travel time while facilitating productivity and connectivity.

The minister informed that despite the Major Development Programme being almost completed, the Government signed a memorandum of Understanding with China Harbour Engineering Company for the Greater Infrastructure Development, last month in Macao SAR, China. Charles Jr added that The Greater Infrastructure Development Programme is expected to bring unprecedented infrastructure development to Jamaica.

“The research shows that well-designed investments in infrastructure can increase long-term economic growth and productivity and that impact goes beyond the gross domestic product numbers and economic statistics,” he revealed. “There are significant positive spillovers to areas such as economic development, energy efficiency and public health.

He acknowledged that while PPPP's don't solve all of the country's infrastructure problems, but Charles Jr said if well structured, they can deliver economic benefits such as employment, facilitate private investment capital and new technology to deliver high-quality public infrastructure and services and then gave the example that the expansion and upgrade of Jamaica's air and sea ports has improved global connectivity and facilitated increased trade.

“With its focus on economic growth, our Government continues to support policies in transforming the science, technology and business landscapes, so as to ensure that Jamaica adapts with the rapidly changing global environment,” he said.

According to him, partnerships are important as the collective efforts of the stakeholders are needed to yield the best sustainable results for economic growth.

He added that the DBJ has “weaved together the essential elements of what is the Government's economic growth strategy”.

The Development Bank of Jamaica, through the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme, hosted Jamaica's first Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference in 2013. Under the theme 'Delivering Economic Growth Through Partnerships: Financing Regional Infrastructure, SMEs and Innovation', this year's four-day conference, ending tomorrow (June 13), features workshops on private equity and infrastructure development and discussions involving international experts on policy decision-making and fund management. Conference presenters and panellists include experienced practitioners and private sector investors from Jamaica, Canada, the United Kingdom, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas.