PRIME Minister Andrew Holness says Government is in the process of creating additional factory space that will greatly benefit small businesses.
“The space will be far more economical and far more modern than what they have now, and will fit into an economy that supports small businesses,” he said.
Speaking in the House of Representatives this week, Holness said Cabinet has just approved the contract for the construction of 90,000 square feet of factory space at the Garmex Free Zone complex in Kingston, with the potential for expansion of up to 360,000 square feet.
“Thirty per cent of that is reserved for small businesses,” the prime minister assured, noting that this exercise will be undertaken by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), which has the mandate to improve factory spaces in areas of demand.
He pointed out that, in total, the FCJ is projected to construct approximately 1.6 million square feet of factory space.
“In addition to the [space] at Garmex, they have 100,000 square feet in Boundbrook (Portland); 850,000 square feet to be constructed at Naggo Head (Portmore); and in Morant Bay (St Thomas), 500,000 square feet,” Holness said.
The prime minister explained that the FCJ is using an integrated development model utilising shared services to benefit small businesses.
“In the present model, you have industrial complexes, sometimes about 50,000 square feet. The overhead [costs are normally] high in those small industrial complexes. So, for small businesses it might not be necessarily the best deployment of resources. What you really want for small businesses is to get them in an environment where they have a large ecosystem over which they can share their overhead costs,” he said.
Holness said the idea is to get these small businesses into large complexes like the Garmex Free Zone, “where they have an ecosystem”.
“In other words, they are in proximity to some of their inputs; because there are many persons occupying the space, the maintenance cost is lower because of the economies of scale; and their workers would be in proximity to other critical services, so they don’t have to move and travel,” he noted.
The prime minister was responding to questions posed by Opposition spokesman on industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton, regarding the divestment of FCJ assets.
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