Jamaica is poised for major development in the tourism and energy sectors, with plans advanced for several projects to be undertaken over the short-term.
Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, President of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett Templer, said that the projects will boost Jamaica’s position as a major destination for doing business.
In terms of tourism, she informed that the Fiesta Hotel in Hanover will be increasing capacity by 1,000 rooms this year, while plans are advanced for the construction of a Marriott Hotel in Kingston.
In addition, discussions are underway to finalise financing for the Harmony Cove development in Trelawny.
As it relates to energy, the JAMPRO President mentioned the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) new $600 million power facility, which was approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) last year.
“I believe JPS is also doing a $30 million development at Maggoty in St. Elizabeth and so there are significant developments…on the horizon, which should commence in the near-term,” she stated.
Meanwhile, as the government continues to focus on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) as a key feature of economic growth, Mrs. Bennett Templer said that the agency will be diversifying its geographic reach.
She explained that over the past few years, there have been major investments coming out of Spain and China and the plan is to work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to identify prospects in the various countries in which Jamaica has diplomatic representation.
She informed that part of the strategy is to place market representatives in particular countries of interest “so that those persons can identify and make contact in order to create a targeted approach to the whole investment effort”.
“We are saying, ‘who are the countries that are investing elsewhere in the region that are not currently in Jamaica and how do we identify and target those countries, get in those boardrooms, and seek to position Jamaica with those firms and attract them to come here to Jamaica’,” she said.
She said that JAMPRO recently invited tenders for representatives in China and India. “We feel that Jamaica’s near shore advantage to the US (United States) is going to be of interest to Indian firms,” Mrs. Bennett Templer argued, noting that investors in Latin America and the wider Caribbean will also be targeted.
Another strategy being undertaken is “investment packaging,” which is, packaging existing and potential projects to prospective investors in order to advance discussions.
The President informed too, that the government is looking at the privatisation policy because “what and how we move in that area will influence FDI coming into the country.”
She added that public-private partnership is key on the agenda, with recommendations already completed on how to improve local policies in this regard.