Jamaica: Government committed to creating ownership society – PM

By CMC

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(CMC) – Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to creating an ownership economy that facilitates greater participation by Jamaicans in activities designed to spur higher levels of growth and development.

He said this is being pursued through public-private partnerships (PPP).

He noted that the Government has already successfully implemented a number of PPPs through collaboration with foreign investors, citing the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), Sangster International Airport (SIA), and Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).

He said while the success of these agreements has resulted in a heightening of Jamaica’s profile globally as an ideal location for investments, the Government wants more local investor input.

“We believe we have investors here who can compete with international investors… and win. I encourage our local investors to step up to the plate as well. The Government wants the people of Jamaica to own the economy and participate in [its] ownership,” the Prime Minister said.

He was speaking at the NMIA PPP concession agreement signing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday.

The Government has divested the management of NMIA’s operations to Mexican entity, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico SAB. De CV (GAP), under a 25-year concession agreement, with an option to extend the arrangement by five years.

GAP, which has also been managing the SIA since 2003, will be responsible for improving NMIA’s land and air operational efficiency, and financing and completing a modernisation programme at an estimated cost of more than U$110 million.

Additionally, the Government will receive a guaranteed percentage of the airport’s gross revenues.

GAP emerged as the preferred of three bidders, inclusive of two consortia of foreign and local investors.

The entity’s selection followed a public opening and evaluation and Cabinet’s subsequent approval in September of the submissions received by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in July.

The transaction value for GAP’s bid totals in excess of US$2 billion.

GAP has concession management agreements, some for 50 years, for 13 airports in Mexico.

“We will be faithful to what we have agreed to… and I have no doubt that our friends, who will now be operating the NMIA will proceed in good faith with the agreement,” Mr. Holness said.

“The Government will follow the legal and regulatory process… and be vigilant [to] ensure that the public’s interest is preserved… . That is an assurance that we give to the people of Jamaica,” he added.

Since 2009, the Government has successfully privatised over 20 State assets, which also included Caymanas Track Limited and the Petroleum Company of Jamaica (PETCOM).

Holness advised that the Administration will shortly announce details of other potential investment opportunities that will be facilitated through PPPs and other divestment engagements.

He emphasised that the Government’s role in this dispensation is providing a strong regulatory framework, and assured that the Administration will be vigilant in ensuring that the terms of agreements reached are met and maintained.

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