By Narayan Ammachchi
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has agreed to lend $20 million to the Jamaican government for the construction of dozens of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centers across the Caribbean country.
Peter Phillips, minister of finance and planning, told the House of Representatives that the ICT centers will create between 7000 and 8000 jobs for the Jamaicans.
The minister made it clear that these estimates do not include other jobs to be created when the private investors chip in. He said the new funds will further bolster ICT infrastructure and create an atmosphere for foreign companies to take part in the country’s growth.
Dr. Phillips noted that ‘there is no limit to what Jamaica can achieve in ICT’ and urged private investors to join in.
The Finance Minister also encouraged investors to contribute to the ‘logistics hub’ initiative. The project, which seeks to take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal, is due to be completed in 2016.
As part of this initiative, government will privatize the Kingston Container Terminal and streamline export and import procedures.
“It will facilitate an overall improvement in trading practices and lower the cost of doing business in Jamaica’s ports. Ultimately, we aim to achieve the paperless processing of transshipment activities,” Dr. Phillips pointed out.
He noted that establishing Jamaica as a logistics hub will require significant investments from both public and private investors in the seaports and airports.