His comment comes against the background of the government’s impending decision on Goat Island Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the government has to balance the necessity for projects that will advance Jamaica’s economic growth, with the need to safeguard the country’s environment.His comment comes against the background of the government’s impending decision on Goat Island, currently being pursued for port facilities development as part of the global logistics hub, and concerns being voiced locally about the possible environmental effects.Speaking recently, at the first of two major economic reform programme (ERP) stakeholders’ conferences at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, Dr. Phillips, underscored that development of the logistics hub initiative presents Jamaica with one of the most “important opportunities” to advance economic growth.Against this background, he said the prospect for Chinese investment in the initiative is highly probable, stressing that “we should do our utmost to secure (this) while, of course, protecting other national interests.”“We have to find the balance between the developmental imperatives of the country and protecting the environment. We are a fragile small island ecology. We will have to do all we can to protect the environment without going to the extreme of saying, then, (that) because the environment is so fragile, we will have no growth at all,” the Finance Minister argued.He pointed out that the issue is not unique to Jamaica, citing a similar scenario in Ecuador whose government, he explained, had to take decisions recently regarding oil mining activities in that South American country’s environmentally protected regions. Additionally, he said the United States faced a similar issue in relation to Alaskan oil pipelines being channeled through their environmentally protected areas, as also Russia, in as regards oil production in Siberia’s protected areas.“All of these countries have sought to find ways to both have strong economic development and to protect the environment. We will have to make the same type of decision,” the Finance Minister added.The conference, held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Programme – Going for Growth, Staying the Course’, is the first of two scheduled to provide updates on the ERP being implemented as a condition of the US$932.3 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which the administration negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).It was attended by a wide cross section of representatives from private and public sector agencies and entities, and community organisations, in parishes spanning the counties of Middlesex and Surrey.A similar forum is scheduled for parishes in western Jamaica, on a date to be scheduled. The prospect for Chinese investment in the initiative is highly probable The logistics hub initiative presents Jamaica with one of the most “important opportunities” to advance economic growth Story Highlights
zoomImage Courtesy: MISC Group MISC Group, a provider of energy-related maritime solutions and services, closed 2018 with 12.8% lower revenue year over year. The group’s revenue dropped to MYR 8,780.3 million (USD 2155.47 million) in 2018 from MYR 10,068.2 million reported a year earlier.As explained, all segments recorded lower revenue excluding heavy engineering following higher revenue from ongoing projects in the current year.LNG segment experienced a reduced number of operating vessels following the expiry of a charter contract in June 2017 and suspension of a charter contract due to geopolitical situation in the current year together with lower charter rate following contact renewal of an LNG carrier in October 2017.What is more, offshore segment’s decrease in revenue is due to lower construction revenue for FSO Benchamas 2 in the current year as well as a recognition of one time gain for GumusutKakap Semi-Floating Production System (L) Limited (GK) variation works.Group operating profit for the year ended December 31, 2018 was MYR 1,466.3 million, a decrease of 45.8% from the operating profit of MYR 2,705.1 million seen in 2017.According to MISC, the decrease was mainly impacted by lower revenue. In addition, higher bunker costs incurred in the petroleum segment and close-out of completed projects in the prior year and insufficient contribution to absorb fixed overheads in the current year in the heavy engineering segment have further dampened current year’s overall operating profit.Moreover, the group’s profit before tax of MYR 1,344.1 million was lower than the corresponding year’s profit before tax of MYR 2,003.5 million, caused by the drop in the operating profit.“Volatile market conditions continue to affect the players in the industry on a global scale. In the face of this challenging market, MISC has proven its strength and capability in securing investment growth of more than USD900 million. Our financial stability is further affirmed when we recorded strong credit ratings in the maritime sector with Moody’s Investors Service, affirming a Baa2 issuer rating and S&P Global Ratings affirming a BBB+ long-term corporate credit rating,” Yee Yang Chien, MISC’s President/Group Chief Executive Officer, said.“We believe that business and operational performance go hand in hand for us to consistently provide better energy related maritime solutions and services,” he added.As of December 31, 2018, MISC Group’s fleet consists of more than 120 owned and in-chartered LNG, petroleum and product vessels, 15 floating production systems (FPS) as well as two LNG floating storage units (FSUs). The fleet has a combined dwt capacity of approximately 16 million tons.