Ground Broken For Us$89 Million Wind Farm At Munro, St. Elizabeth
MONTEGO BAY, Feb. 26 (JIS): Ground was broken for the construction of a US$89 million 36.3-megawatt wind farm at Munro, St. Elizabeth, on February 25, by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell.
He was joined by representatives of BMR Jamaica Wind Limited, the United States Embassy and the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited (JPSCo).
The project will generate electricity using 11 Vesta Model V-112 wind turbines, and power will be transmitted to the national grid via a 69kV transmission line running 18 kilometres from the wind farm to the JPSCo’s 138/69kV Spur Tree substation in Manchester.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Mr. Paulwell said the project forms part of the Government’s push to lower the cost of electricity for Jamaicans.
“The price of electricity must come down. I have a view as to where it must get for Jamaica to become first world, and for us to be highly competitive. It won’t happen in three years, it probably won’t happen in five years, but my view is that we have to have a minimum of about US18 cents per kilowatt-hour for us to achieve that target,” he emphasised.
The Minister added that Jamaica’s oil import bill remains too high and investments in renewable energy are always welcome.
Highlighting the value of the BMR Wind project, Mr. Paulwell pointed out that there are several new projects on the horizon from which the country will benefit significantly.
“We have some baseload projects that are going to happen…a 190-megawatt LNG project which involves JPSCo, and I hear that the price should not exceed US12.89 cents per kilowatt-hour. I am very pleased, and as Minister, I am going to sign that licence the day it comes on my desk,” the Minister said.
Mr. Paulwell noted that the new venture at Munro and two others will bring total investments in the energy sector to more than $20 billion.
“Last week, I was nearby breaking ground for WIGTON-3 (in Manchester) and that will be an investment of $5 billion. In other couple of weeks, I go to Clarendon where another American company will be breaking ground for a 20 MW solar facility costing $7 billion. Today’s investment by BMR tops them all, totalling just over $10 billion. So, over the next couple of months, we will be investing over $20 billion in energy projects,” the Minister said.
“This will record growth in our economy and very importantly for us, the creation of just under 200 jobs,” Mr. Paulwell added.
Praising BMR for its decision to invest in Jamaica, Mr. Paulwell said it represents a display of tremendous partnership, especially in the present economic climate.
BMR has also signed a 20-year agreement to sell power generated at the
St. Elizabeth wind farm to the JPSCo.
The wind turbines are being installed on 75 acres of land which have been leased from the National Land Agency (NLA) in the communities of Hermitage, Torrington Castle and Chelsea.
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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