Sun | Nov 19, 2017

New St Ann digs for labour ministry

Published:Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
The offices of the Ministry of Labour & Social Security at National Heroes Circle in Kingston.

The Ministry of Labour & Social Security will break ground Thursday, October 19 for new offices in St Ann, following the approval by Cabinet of a contract for construction valued at more than half-a-billion dollars.

M&M Jamaica Limited was selected for the project in September by the National Insurance Fund, NIF, an arm of the labour ministry responsible for the administration of pension-fund assets.

The project, valued at $513.3 million, will see the construction of a new three-storey office building on lands owned by the NIF at St Ann's Bay, the parish capital.

The new structure is designed as a 27,000-square-foot development and comprises two buildings, each rising to three floors, including a ground floor and basement. One tower will be the labour ministry's new home, and the other will be leased or rented to businesses.

Labour ministry sources said the project timeline is 18 months. Assistant Managing Director at M&M Jamaica, Richard Mullings, said that building the structure of reinforced concrete would take up 15 months of the allotted timeline. The project's architect, he said, was Rivi Gardner & Associates.

As outlined in Ministry Paper 64, which was tabled in Parliament, the new building will replace the labour ministry's old offices now located at 4 Windsor Road in St Anns Bay.

The ministry paper said the new structure would also accommodate a branch of the National Insurance Scheme, whose operations, too, have outgrown the existing office. The old offices were said to be in physical decline.

On behalf of the National Insurance Scheme, NIF administers and invests pension fund contributions. The fund pays outs benefits to Jamaicans of pensionable age on a fortnightly basis.

The fund in March held around $95 billion in assets, with real estate component comprising around 13 per cent of the portfolio. NIF earns more than $200 million per year from property rentals.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com