Jamaica Prime Minister Calls for Increased Private Sector Investment

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre), listens as Chairman, Seprod, Paul B. Scott (left), explains the labelling process for the Supligen brand drink, during a tour of the newly launched consolidated Serge Island Dairies plant. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday May 31, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrew Holness is encouraging greater private-sector investment in the economy.

He says his Government is creating the environment to facilitate business through stable, predictable, certain macroeconomic fiscal and monetary policies, which can spur continued growth, and he wants those who can to take advantage of that.

“We are supporting the private sector by ensuring that our microeconomic policies work… making sure that our labour force is work-ready…[and] improving ease of doing business,” he said.

“All of these [measures] plus our investments in infrastructure to make sure that you can get your goods quickly from factory to port for export; all that we are doing with improving the efficiency of our ports by divesting to operators who understand the port business and can make it more efficient – all of those microeconomic activities help with the growth.”

He noted that the Jamaican economic model is now “coming together”, with the economy recording consistent growth over the last 16 quarters, “which says that the changes in the economy are taking root”.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the official launch of Serge Island Dairies new processing plant in the south eastern parish of St Catherine on Tuesday. The new facility, which consolidates the company’s processing operations in Seaforth, St Thomas, represents a total investment of J$7 billion (US$51.7 million).

Holness hailed the investment by Seprod and its parent company Musson, as a signal of confidence in the economic policies of the country.

“It is not a small feat to place that level of capital at risk…you have taken a big risk,” he said.

“I am very happy for the vote of confidence that is being made now by our investing community….That confidence continues to be recorded statistically every quarter. The confidence index in Jamaica – both consumer and producer confidence –continues to be high and is, in fact, rising.”

The Prime Minister also praised Seprod for continuing “to grow from strength to strength” as the largest dairy manufacturer, largest processor of fresh milk, and the largest co-manufacturer of juice and flavoured milk in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (fourth left), observes operations at the newly consolidated Serge Island Dairies plant. Looking on (from left) are: Head of Market, Anglo-Dutch Caribbean, Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Patricio Torres (left); Member of Parliament for St. Catherine North Central, Natalie Neita; Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw; Chairman, Seprod, Paul B. Scott; and Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica Limited, Milverton Reynolds. (Credit: JIS)

He said he was pleased that the company, which sells its products in 23 markets worldwide, will now be manufacturing products for Nestlé using local milk.

“That is telling me that we are going to be creating, over the next decade, significant value and capacity in a local industry that is going to signal a higher rate of growth,” Holness said.

The plant, which was formerly owned by Nestlé, will fulfil a significant portion of CARICOM demand in the condensed, evaporated and flavoured milks and juice categories, leading to increased exports and co-manufacturing services.

In March, Seprod signed a deal with Nestlé Jamaica Limited, Nestlé Trinidad and Nestlé Caribbean Incorporated, which will see Seprod producing two milk products locally – Nestlé Full Cream Condensed Milk and Nestlé Green Butterfly Condensed Milk for local and regional distribution.

The plant, which previously employed 100 persons, now has 300 employees.

Click here to receive news via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)