Holness says divestment of state assets good thing for Jamaica

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Holness says divestment of state assets good thing for Jamaica

Saturday, May 20, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the divestment of state assets which will facilitate increased investments and yield greater levels of economic growth is “a good thing for Jamaica”.“Divestment of assets is not a bad thing for Jamaicans if it is done correctly, if you find the right partners and if you have the right framework in place, Jamaicans benefit. (These are) assets that we would not be able ourselves to utilise because of the fiscal constraints that exist, (so) those assets get to be utilised and in the utilisation of those assets, Jamaicans get employed,” he said.

Holness pointed out that approximately 200 additional Jamaicans have been employed by Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited (KFTL).

He was speaking following a tour of expansion works being undertaken by the KFTL at Port Bustamante on Friday.

The expansion activities valued at US$456 million will include among other things structural developments to the berthing area to accommodate larger ships.

KFTL is a subsidiary of the global terminal operators CMA CGM Group. The local company was established for the sole purpose of acting as the signatory to the KCT concession.

The agreement gives KFTL a 30-year term concession, with the right to finance, expand, operate, maintain and transfer the KCT at the end of the concession period.

Holness said the expansion of the facility is timely and places Jamaica in a better position to take advantage of the changes in logistics and shipping industries.

“We would not at this time be in a position to find those resources with all that the Government has to do, we could not leave the asset there to further deteriorate and to become irrelevant as other ports are being developed and the shipping industry moves forward with new technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Holness is proposing that the regulatory arm of the Government be strengthened, so that it can divest itself of assets to the private sector.

“We have to put in place the framework in which private and public sectors can work together to have the full utilisation of our asset,” he said.

He added that significant acreages of land exist around the port, which is now well placed to be developed for logistics, manufacturing and other forms of operations.

“The Government will move very quickly to ensure that these possibilities are explored and developed so that Jamaicans can benefit,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited, Olivier Tretout said the expansions being undertaken will redound to the benefit of the country.

Other members of the touring party included: Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang; President and Chief Executive Officer, Port Authority of Jamaica, Gordon Shirley; Chairman of the Port Authority, Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Audrey Sewell.

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