JISCO industrial park can be an economic game changer, says Vaz
Minister without portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Mike Henry (third right), addresses a meeting involving officials from Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at Jamaica House on Thursday. At fourth left is Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, People’s Republic of China, Wang Jiangping.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, says the multi-billion dollar development project being undertaken by Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) in Nain, St Elizabeth, has the potential to be a game changer in terms of its impact on the local and national economy.
JISCO, which operates the Alpart alumina refinery in Nain, plans to invest approximately US$3 billion to develop the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone in the area, which is expected to, among other things, generate tens of thousands of jobs for Jamaican.
Minister Vaz said that priority is being placed on getting the project under way in short order.
He was speaking at a meeting with Vice Minister in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Wang Jiangping; and Minister without portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Mike Henry, among other officials, at Jamaica House on Thursday.
The visit of the Chinese vice minister follows the signing of a framework agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the PRC in February of this year, to facilitate the Gansu economic zone among other investment projects in the areas of construction and infrastructure, cement manufacturing, resource processing, equipment manufacturing and light industry.
Minister Vaz told the vice minister that he had given instructions for the JISCO project to be facilitated as best as possible.
“We look forward to working with the JISCO team through Chairman Chen Chungming, to make sure that we can get the project started and implemented in the shortest possible time,” Vaz assured.
He noted that Minister Henry and Chairman of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), Metry Seaga, recently travelled to China, and “based on the report that Minister Henry has given to Cabinet, we are satisfied that this investment is something that we can achieve in short order.”
Vaz gave the assurance that “… both Minister Henry and myself will be giving it the oversight and the priority that it deserves”.
Minister Henry, in welcoming the visit from the Chinese vice minister, said “your presence here now offers to us a welcome indication of the firm support from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the project. You can take it as our assurance that we want to have this project moving as fast as we can, and as forward as we can”.
Minister Wang, in his remarks, said the initiative is a “win-win” for all, and will serve to strengthen the relationship between both countries.
“We are fully supportive of the industry park project and we are also facilitating the JISCO group to start it and implement it with our ministry’s capability. We will push and promote for more and more Chinese companies to come here and find potential investment opportunities,” he said.
“We will really try our best to push and encourage this project, and start it and get the transformation and upgrading, and getting that project built to success,” he added.
The Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone is one of three pivotal projects under Jamaica’s Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI), which is being spearheaded by the JSEZA. The others are the Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St Catherine and the Vernamfield Aerotropolis in Clarendon.