Thu | Apr 18, 2019

PM commits to divesting more underutilised state-owned assets

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 11:33 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addresses the Wigton Windfarm Limited's Initial Public Offering (IPO) Investor Briefing, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James on Friday.

As efforts continue to make government more efficient, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says more underutilised state-owned assets will be divested.

Holness said the objective is to create greater space for spending on hospitals, schools, roads, national security, infrastructure and housing, pay down debt, among other things.

“The strategy of the Jamaican Government is, you are only stronger when you have more fiscal space, so …we are looking now, right across the length and breadth of the country, at all the assets that the Government owns. Those that are underutilised, those that are not making a profit and those that are profitable… we are going to place those assets in the hands of the private sector,” he said.

The prime minister was speaking at Wigton Windfarm Limited’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) Investor Briefing held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James on Friday.

Jamaicans will have the opportunity to purchase shares in Wigton when the IPO opens on April 17 and closes on May 1. 

A total of 11 billion shares at 0.50 cents each are being offered with 2.2 billion shares reserved for public sector workers. The Government is seeking to raise $5.5 billion from the sale.

Holness noted that the IPO gives average Jamaicans the opportunity to “gain the gift of ownership” by purchasing Wigton stocks.  

“We are doing this in such a way because we believe that the average Jamaican must participate in the ownership of the asset because this makes Jamaica stronger. So we are … making (the) asset affordable,” he said.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, in emphasising the affordability of the stock, noted that the entry price is $1,000 or 2000 shares.

“In other IPOs, ordinary Jamaicans would have to come up with a minimum of $5,000 or $10,000 to get in,” she pointed out.

A subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Wigton Windfarm is the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean and was built by the Government to aid in the diversification of Jamaica’s energy mix.

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