PRIME Minister Andrew Holness is urging the private sector to push ahead with development projects, in tandem with the Government’s efforts to continue financing its own projects, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the private sector should not take a wait and see approach to development ventures at this time, despite the economic challenges the country faces.
“The right approach to take is to see what you can do now. Make the investment plans that you have materialise now. It is in the delay and waiting to see that you may exacerbate a recessing in the economy. Government will be moving ahead with projects that it can finance, and is encouraging the private sector to do the same,” Holness stated.
He was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for phase one of the Garmex redevelopment and expansion project at Marcus Garvery Drive in Kingston, yesterday. The prime minister said the $960-million Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) undertaking is “a good sign”, and that he was encouraging the construction industry to move ahead with speed and alacrity with the projects which are planned.
He commended the FCJ for having bounced back from its negative financial status in 2016, when it was the subject of a damning auditor general probe and was operating at a loss at the time. He said the agency, under the watch of a new board, is now in a good financial position to spur investment, through expansion of warehouse capacity.
Holness stressed that the Garmex expansion is not just for the benefit of large operations and logistics, but also has capacity to support the small, medium-size and micro business sector with operating space at reasonable costs.
He noted that for more than a decade the FCJ had not built any new warehousing capacity and that this was its first such project in many years. “It is a sign that there is fundamental demand in the economy, that there is real demand. To meet that effective demand we have to make the investment – and the CFJ is fulfilling that responsibility,” he stated.
Expansion work started on the site in February and is expected to run for 14 months, with phase two scheduled to follow immediately after. The additional space is being made available for operations in manufacturing, agro-processing, distribution, and warehousing. A total of 126,000 square feet of space will be built for those sectors, with 36,000 square feet of that allotted to small businesses.
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