Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says that approximately 14,000 new business process outsourcing (BPO) jobs are expected to be created by the first quarter of 2018.
This, he noted, is in addition to 4,000 that were generated between April 2016 and March this year.
He made the disclosure during Thursday’s (July 13) second ‘HOPE for Jamaica’ town hall meeting, organised by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, at the old Goodyear factory complex in Morant Bay, St. Thomas.
Mr. Holness said 2,000 of the projected new jobs would result from the Port Authority of Jamaica’s development of new facilities in Montego Bay, with another 5,000 from BPO projects being undertaken by the Government in Portmore, St. Catherine.
He indicated that the remaining 7,000 would be generated through programmed private-sector engagements.
“This is no if, but or maybe… . These are verifiable statistics (and) those new jobs will be created,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness advised that the Government has received expressions of interest in the 80,000 square feet of BPO space that will be created in the new Morant Bay Urban Centre.
Two BPO facilities that will employ 3,000 persons working on two shifts are being developed at the 365,000 square-foot centre, work on which is being spearheaded by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica at a cost of $4 billion.
The centre, to be situated at the 25-acre property that housed the old Goodyear factory, has an expansion capacity for an additional 80,000 square feet to provide another 3,000 BPO jobs, all targeting mainly young people.
Mr. Holness indicated that the Government had commenced promoting the facility, which resulted in the expressions of interest.
He noted, however, that no formal arrangements have been established as “persons are going to want to see the space built first (and) do their investigations to see whether there is the actual population to provide the labour pool”.
“I know, based on the high schools that you have and how this parish has improved in its literacy and educational performance, that you have that surplus labour here that could easily be absorbed into those BPO operations,” the Prime Minister said.
The new urban centre is being developed to deliver key public- and private-sector services in what Mr. Holness described as an “orderly and more efficient” manner.
He noted that the existing town centre “wasn’t planned for the level of activity that is (currently) there”.
“People (who come) here and the people who live here would like to conduct their business in efficient, safe and secure circumstances,” he pointed out.
The new centre will provide facilities to accommodate the municipal authority, law enforcement, justice, business and commerce, education and training, and general public service delivery.
Work is slated to commence in December and be completed within two years.
As a result of the new development, Mr. Holness said the Government will be taking steps to declare the old town centre as a heritage site.