Gov't has enabled businesses to take long-term steps - Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that the Government has enabled businesses to take resolute long-term steps with greater certainty towards actualising investment decisions.
Speaking at the ceremony to break ground for the new Stewart's Automotive Group showroom at 2 South Avenue (off Arthur Wint Drive) in St Andrew on Thursday, Holness said that this has been achieved through macroeconomic decisions taken in regard to interest rates and the Government's tax policy.
"I believe Jamaicans can feel satisfied in their Government that the continued sacrifice for fiscal discipline has resulted in an economic environment in which businesses can take decisions and risks about investments," he said.
He referenced the steps taken by the Stewart's Group to open the new Jaguar and Land Rover showrooms as evidence of the future long-term decisions that businesses are taking.
The prime minister argued that even greater progress must be made on micro issues, such as the length of time it takes for businesses to get off the ground and obtain electricity and titling, in order to "make the big investments happen".
"We have to do things to make it easier to do business, which are usually microeconomic considerations ... . We are strategically focused on that," he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Holness wants the nation to consider the importance of innovation, which he said is absolutely critical to economic growth.
"We, too, can innovate. We, too, can create new ideas that we turn into a product and monetise in a market. I am saying to all Jamaicans, do not be afraid to explore new ideas. You will never know what the next big thing is," he said.
Holness is advocating for innovation in the arts, which he argued has economic potential.
Projected for overall completion in September 2019, the US$13-million investment made by the Stewart's Group will be a five-storey building, with the first two housing the Jaguar and Land Rover showrooms. Those two storeys are projected for completion in March.
The upper levels will enable the company to expand into real estate with the creation of space for business process outsourcing, thereby bringing employment to the community.
"Our Jaguar and Land Rover facility will be very exciting (and) is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. It will be built to Stewart's and Jaguar and Land Rover exacting standards. We have left no stone unturned to deliver on our family's promise of unparalleled service to our customers," said director of the Stewart's Automotive Group, Duncan Stewart.
Stewart said that the construction of the group's new facility will also enhance the ambience and appeal of the area and will heighten the sense of pride for persons operating and living in the area.
He thanked the Government for its support of the company's endeavours to grow.