The Most Hon. Andrew Holness ON, MP
58 HWT by Stanley Motta Limited
September 28, 2017
Ambassador Nigel Clarke
Mr. P. B. Scott, Chairman, Musson Group
Ms Melanie Subratie, Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Stanley Motta
Members of Staff of Stanley Motta and Musson Group
Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Agencies and Departments
Members of the Private Sector
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
I’m certain I have captured everyone that I need to acknowledge. It is indeed a good morning for Jamaica and I’m very happy to be here at yet another signal of inclusive growth and job creation for Jamaica; 58 HWT, right in the centre of bustling Kingston city on Half Way Tree Road.
I would like to extend my congratulations to Musson Group/Stanley Motta Limited for their investment in Jamaica – this project symbolizes the confidence you have in Jamaica’s productivity and capacity and symbolizes the convergence of public and private sector aspirations. I cannot speak about the powerful conglomerate, the Musson Group; without specially mentioning P. B. Scott, Chairman of the Musson Group and President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and one of Jamaica’s leading business figures.
P.B is what I would describe as “Jamaica’s Industrialist”. I think that would be an appropriate term to describe you. Another term to describe you would be one of Jamaica’s “Chief Risk Takers” but I believe the better term to describe you is that- and I don’t think there would be any dissonance with this, that you are one of Jamaica’s “Best Business Mind”.
And I was listening to Melanie keenly and one thing that comes out is passion and that is a key ingredient of success because you believe in what you do so I know that this project will be successful under your direct leadership.
58 HWT has been developed into the largest tech park in the Caribbean – 236,000 square feet of space and this is being done by renovating old warehouses and building new space. The space is predominantly rented to BPO facilities and their supporting services.
In order to continue nurturing Jamaica’s sustained growth in Outsourcing Services capitalizing on our:
- proven track record in foreign investment,
- large educated and English speaking workforce;
- competitively priced infrastructure;
- low employee turnover rates;
- high productivity and;
- nearshore advantages;
We must pay attention to a critical factor that impacts our potential; the availability of purpose-built facilities in which to undertake the advanced activities associated with BPO operations and evolving Knowledge Process operations. That is one of the main constraints on Jamaica’s fulfilment of its true potential in these areas.
And I want to take on the point that P.B made earlier. In the 1960’s we had a boom, we had a growth spurt and that growth spurt was represented by construction. Much of the capital formation particularly in infrastructure buildings, both commercial residential and industrial was actually built in the 1960’s. We’ve not had that level of investment since so I totally agree with you P.B and I identify with your vision that we have to form new capital and it is up to our generation to do that because the truth is- just from an accounting perspective that capital does not exist anymore; that’s depreciated already. From a real perspective much of them would have very little relevance, probably obsolete because they do not fit the current business processes that are necessary to function in the modern world.
When we introduce projects like the Government Circle, which is designed to create a campus of core government ministries suited for modern business processes that will improve the efficiency and functioning and accessibility of government services. We would want the support of all Jamaica in doing this. That is actually a catalyst for growth. What you’re doing here P.B will reflect in our growth figures.
In the fast-growing outsourcing industry, services providers continually seek to grow their client base; and often times when they successfully close deals to increase business volume, those deals require them to add significant capacity within a few months, not years. If Jamaica is going to continue to be viewed by companies as an ideal place to grow their operations, we must invest in building facilities that meet these companies’ requirements before they win new accounts. And this is exactly what the Musson Group/Stanley Motta Ltd. has done with 58 HWT Tech Park; taking a calculated risk to be prepared to meet the continuing growth.
For me this is the most profound statement and description of what is being done.
P.B mentioned the need for a stable environment. He mentioned the need for government to continue on a fiscally responsible path. We have as a government and I’m not now speaking in terms of PNP government or JLP government but as a people ruling ourselves in a sovereign way, we have decided to maintain a fiscally responsible path and we’ve enshrined that in legislation. There’s no divide politically on this matter. There are however issues that are emerging as we evolve in this whole new paradigm of fiscal responsibility because fiscal responsibility is not a steady state; it is a continuing journey and it means that what we have already sacrificed 7% primary surplus balance which means that we take all of that to pay down debt and we contain government expenditure and we’ve been doing that now since 2013 there about. We can’t throw that away.
There are other areas in which fiscal responsibility has to be applied. It has to be applied in the area of public sector reform. In fact I like to say Public Sector Transformation, and that of course will test the consensus that has emerged across administration on the matter of fiscal responsibility.
Indeed that is going to be the next test of whether or not there is truly political consensus on the continuity of fiscal responsibility. As I stand here today I have the will and the resolve but this is a democratic country. Will, resolve and in these matters consensus are important and so I continue to maintain a posture of partnership towards building the consensus for an evolving framework of fiscal responsibility.
I want to assure you P.B and Melanie that the government stands in support of the business and private sector; that we stand in support of a partnership. If the private sector grows, we can do more for the public sector and when the public sector is more efficient it does more for the private sector and then we create a vitreous cycle of partnership where everyone can grow and drink more Supligen.
I want to give you some context. Michael, in February 2016, very important date; eight hundred thousand square feet of space existed within the BPO sector with forty-four companies working in that sector employing approximately eighteen thousand five hundred workers. By March 2017 when I made my budget presentation in parliament, we had one million three hundred thousand square feet with fifty companies operation in the BPO space, an increase in space of 65%.
The number of companies moved from forty-four to fifty, an increase of six and we added just under five thousand new jobs to averaging about twenty-two thousand jobs in the sector. That’s the pace of growth that has happened within a year.
I know of- in terms of being the minster responsible for the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Factories Corporation of Jamaica plans for two hundred and fifty thousand new square feet of space and we will be retrofitting fifty thousand additional square feet so in all from the public sector side of things you can look at average three hundred thousand square feet of new space.
We also know of plans in the private sector for eight hundred thousand new square feet of spaces but as I was just speaking to P.B a while ago and we’ve been talking about other possibilities as well and I also know of plans for another two hundred and fifty thousand new square feet of space so in total by the time I go to stand in Parliament to deliver my budget presentation in 2018, we should have additional space of 1.35 million square feet; adding another twenty-five thousand new jobs conservatively estimated.
I want you to appreciate that there is momentum in the industry and this is not the limit of our potential. I agree with you P.B, we could have ten more parks like this and we would not hit up on a problem in finding labour. Right now there is a constraint, we acknowledge this. There’s also a constraint with space but what I’ve seen so far in terms of what the public sector is doing and what the private sector is doing, we should solve the space constraint very quickly.
I am taking a personal interest in ensuring that we solve the training needs and the HOPE programme will rapidly increase your employment base to ensure that there are no constraints to the potential growth of this industry.
To give you some more contexts, this year we created almost thirty-five thousand five hundred new jobs; the highest new job creation in the history of Jamaica. Much of that came from the services sector; BPO, tourism and the return of bauxite as a player in the employment sector. We can do it ladies and gentlemen. Jamaica has all the resources right here to grow.
Sometimes we are our biggest obstacle but if we can get consensus we remove one of the obstacles which is divisive and petty politics. Outside of that I want to also identify with what P.B and Melanie said “we can build things here with Jamaican products. We can use Jamaican companies, Jamaican artisan, designers, architects, builders and we will do that and I’m very happy to see that you’ve made it a point of duty to ensure that you go local in doing this development and I want to congratulate you and encourage all our businesses to do that.
The government is doing that for the types of major investments that we intend to undertake. It is however almost inescapable that we will have to mobilize capital from outside of Jamaica and we will also have to use expertise from outside of Jamaica but whatever we do we must make sure that Jamaicans are involved in a prominent, significant and in a leadership way to ensure that we own what we build. I don’t mean own it to have the title but that what is built and developed represents us, it represents our labour, it represents our aspiration, it represents our enterprise and our initiative and so I’m certain that Jamaica will identify with 58 HWT Tech Park.
It is also admirable that you will have on property a day-care centre. That’s a very progressive thing to do and it will ensure that you have a very high level of staff satisfaction. We note as well that you will have other facilities to make this an area where you can work, you can play, you can eat because I gather you will have restaurants as well, you can do banking because you will have ATM kiosks and you’re not going to have a night club here or anything like that; but you will have a gym and possibly a jogging trail to keep Jamaica moving.
The “everything within your reach” concept is very important for Business Process Outsourcing operations and I believe you’ve nailed it down with this tech park.
Ladies and gentlemen, by my presentation you would realize how very pleased I am with this. It is truly a sign of confidence. P.B gave you a lesson in economics 101 and mentioned all the linkages that if you don’t have cash flow then you won’t have investment. If there is no investment, there is no production, there’s no production there is no growth but in that line of economics there is actually a very critical variable and it is called confidence.
Confidence is psychology of economics. Without confidence people will not take risks and without confidence people will have a very pessimistic view of the future. What we’re trying to do as a government is to maintain confidence, maintain hope, to give people hope and to focus on the various bright spots in the economy and to support them and help those bright spots to grow into stars and to shine and pretty soon we will a constellation that when we look at Jamaica, it is a map of bright spots; all shining and working together in concert to give the picture of hope and prosperity.
God bless you.