Opposition spokesman on Industry, Commerce and Energy Gregory Mair is proposing that the administration make it necessary for all government structures to be outfitted with solar photovoltaic systems.
“Every government building must have solar panels energising their lights, fans and other equipment. Not only will it bring savings in foreign exchange used by JPS to purchase fuel, but it will also reduce the electricity bills of Government and stimulate the growth of an industry of which Jamaica could become the Caribbean leader,” Mair pointed out during his contribution, last week, to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.
He also desires the Government to introduce policy to make it compulsory for solar photovoltaic techniques to be installed in government-related schemes.
“Let the Government drive demand in solar energy. If done properly, we could see an industry where we have solar photovoltaic panels and solar heating assembly plants exporting to the Caribbean and, by extension, the world,” he added.
Discussing how this venture could become a fact, Mair stated the government must make the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) more efficient.
“As we are aware, the PCJ is funded by the one per cent commission earned from the sale of fuel to Petrojam. The PCJ does not require all this funding and the majority of it should be dedicated to building this industry. It is a win-win all around,” Mair explained.
Turning to the PetroCaribe settlement, Mair argued that Jamaica may pay for fuel bought under this accord with items made locally, now not only manufactured goods but in addition produce.
According to Mair, Article IV of the PetroCaribe agreement states, among other things, that, “With regard to deferred payments, Venezuela shall be able to accept that the partial payments be done with products, goods and/or services, previously agreed by the parties, based on preferential rates proposed by the Government of Jamaica.”
He stated that Venezuela imported numerous products and Jamaica had failed to benefit from this clause of the PetroCaribe deal.
“Our Government should meet with our counterparts in Venezuela, like many other countries have, and agree on the goods we will be selling them in exchange for their fuel. Once this is done, Government should encourage the establishment and expansion of the industries that will capitalise on this arrangement,” the opposition spokesman stated.