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Jamaica pumping US$20m into ICT sector

Published:Tuesday | May 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM
An aerial view of Montego Bay Free Zone, the centre of Jamaica's call-centre industry, with the construction under way of Factory 8 (to the left) and Data Entry Building #2 (to the right).

The Jamaican Government is pumping an estimated US$20 million in the development of the information communication technology sector, Phillip Paulwell, science, technology, energy and mining minister, has said.

"Jamaica is on a growth trajectory once more. We are seeing expansion taking place, especially in Montego Bay, and we want to facilitate and encourage that," he said, while touring several call centres on the weekend.

"The minister of finance will again be allowing another US$20 million funding for the creation of office space and we got a commitment from Factories Corporation of Jamaica for the construction of 60,000 square feet of space," said Paulwell.

The minister said the Portia Simpson Miller administration was also pleased that the private sector was also involved in the expansion of the sector.

Vast potential

"We want to be in touch with this industry because we believe that there is such vast potential, and every month, a team of us from related ministries hear the concerns and work through issues to ensure that we continue to see growth," he said, adding that the focus now is on training to provide qualified personnel for the sector.

Junior minister of industry, investment and commerce, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said that with prospects of expansion, the Government will provide more training for young people.

"We know that young people are very talented here in Jamaica. The young people here have the aptitude for the technology, we have the English skills, we are near shore to the United States of America, and we can only develop this industry for the betterment of Jamaica," she added.