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December deadline for sale of bauxite company

Alicia Dunkley

Friday, October 26, 2012    

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GOVERNMENT intends to rid itself of its stake in Clarendon Alumina Partners (CAP) in the next two months.

"We are currently in discussions with potential partners in CAP which is aimed at taking CAP off the Government's accounts totally by the end of this calendar year," Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips told Parliament on Tuesday.

He was responding to queries from Opposition Spokesperson on Finance Audley Shaw.

Phillips, however, did not disclose who the potential investors were.

"Those discussions (are) proceeding and I am not at this point at liberty to name the partners or the parameters of the discussions, but we are confident that the obligations to the public accounts will not take place for the future."

The negotiations for the divestment of Government's stake in CAP was previously slated for completion last month.

The Government owns 45 per cent of the shares in the company, which successive administrations have been feverishly trying to sell. The most recent endeavours stem from demands made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a prerequisite to any agreement it makes with Jamaica. In March this year it signalled that it would close the Clarendon-based operation if the administration did not fork out its share of the operational costs. This came in the midst of agitation by the IMF about the Government's debt as a combination of factors pushed it to table an $11.2- billion Third Supplementary Estimates.

The previous JLP administration had approved the sale of the Government's interest in CAP to pave the way for the finalisation of negotiations with the IMF on the targets contained in the stand-by agreement.

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