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Growth & Jobs | Road to easy business … Kingston to north coast network world class – Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hailed the island’s road network, which connects Kingston to the northern coast, as world-class. He argues that having very good infrastructure makes it a lot easier to do business.

“We are making those investments in our physical infrastructure to make doing business that much easier,” he told the large gathering of business operators and local and international buyers attending the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association’s inaugural Jamaica International Exhibition last Thursday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Read more:http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170606/growth-jobs-road-easy-business-kingston-north-coast-network-world-class

Special Economic Zone Regulations for Parliament Soon

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness says regulations will be brought to Parliament in another two weeks to bring to life the special economic zones (SEZs).

Mr. Holness, who was addressing the opening of the inaugural Jamaica International Exhibition (JIE) Trade Show at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on June 1, said that while the regulations have been long in coming, it is a case where “we have to strike the right balance”.

“The legislation and the regulations will be business-friendly. However, we will also have to meet all the good governance requirements to ensure that our business is in line with our obligations for anti-corruption, for ensuring that our financial sector is solid and for ensuring that we cannot be penetrated for terrorism or used for other nefarious activities,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

Read more: http://jis.gov.jm/special-economic-zone-regulations-parliament-soon/

170 Jobs projected from US$204m investment in logistics, manufacturing

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) –The Government is projecting that 170 jobs will come from investments of US$204 million in logistics and manufacturing during the current fiscal year.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, said investment of US$104 million is projected for logistics, which will see the creation of some 70 jobs across various subsectors, including airports and seaports, railway, transhipment infrastructure and dry-docking.

Vaz, who was making his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said the expansion in logistics will be facilitated through the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Regulations, which is being finalised.

He informed that phase one of the Logistics Industrial Analysis Master Plan has been completed, and phase two is expected in a few months.

In manufacturing, the projects to come on stream are expected to create capital expenditure of some US$100 million and create 100 jobs.

Minister Vaz told the House that the Government is having discussions with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to see how the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) can facilitate expansion of the sector, particularly with regard to the provision of needed factory space on favourable credit terms. Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/170_jobs_projected_from_US$204m_investment_in_logistics,_manufacturing?profile=1023

West Indies petroleum eyes Caribbean market

Following the acquisition of the Jamaica Broilers Ethanol Plant, local bunkering company West Indies Petroleum (WIP) is eyeing distribution of its fuel across the Caribbean.

WIP has signed an agreement with a multi billion-dollar global fuel supplier that will allow the company to meet the demands to trans-ship fuel regionally.

The partnership will also allow WIP to offer low-cost fuel to cruise and container shipping customers in Jamaica.

WIP has completely retrofitted the acquired ethanol plant to store gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oil and has renamed the facility the West Indies Petroleum South Terminal.

 

“We are very excited about what we have done so far. We truly believe in our vision and feel it’s all now just within our reach. The entire team has put our hearts and souls into this company but still feel amazed, blessed and humbled by how much we have been able to achieve in such a short space of time,” CEO of West Indies Petroleum, Charles Chambers said in a release from the company.

Last week, WIP imported into its fleet a third fuel barge with storage capacity of 96,000 barrels. The company has also invested in a 65,000-barrel storage facility at the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal.

According to the company, the upgraded assets have positioned it to close large contracts with major cruise and container shipping lines as well as bauxite companies, energy companies and local manufacturers.

Overall, WIP sees itself as an important player in the Government’s logistic hub initiative.

“WIP has made a very bold step which has signalled a move to diversify Jamaica’s industrial base while attracting large-scale commodity traders. Having toured the WIP facilities, it is evident that the company adheres to very high standards of operation and it is impressive what they have done and will continue to do,” Head of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority and architect of the logistics hub, Eric Deans, said.

According to WIP, the company now has more than 830,000 barrels of storage, making it the second largest owner of fuel storage on the island, behind Petrojam.

WIP expects its first shipment of approximately 400,000 barrels of fuel to arrive in Jamaica shortly. A host of dignitaries from Jamaica Customs, the JSEZA and various ministries will be present to witness the arrival.

Jamaica’s Trade Facilitation Task Force : Involving Public and Private Sectors to Improve Competitiveness

Jamaica is taking steps to strengthen its trade environment as a way to improve the ease and ways of doing business and stimulate growth. In February 2015, Jamaica formed its National Committee on Trade Facilitation, known as the Trade Facilitation Task Force (TF2). During its first year, the Task Force had fruitful consultations with its members in the public and private sectors on how to increase trade facilitation in Jamaica. These consultations laid the foundation for the creation of a Trade Facilitation Project Plan, currently in use as a guide for the execution and monitoring of Jamaica’s trade-competitiveness activities. This Smart Lesson describes the establishment of the Task Force and the progress of the Project Plan— and shares key lessons learned along the way.

Citation
“Tomlinson, Kanika Y.. 2017. Jamaica’s Trade Facilitation Task Force : Involving Public and Private Sectors to Improve Competitiveness. IFC Smart Lessons;. International Finance Corporation, Washington, DC. © International Finance Corporation. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/26296 License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IGO.”

Logistics sector to get new life, says Holness

Jamaica’s logistics Hub Initiative is to get new life, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who declared the development of the logistics sector a national project.
Holness made the announcement last month during his contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.
The prime minister said the Government intends to develop special economic zones where light manufacturing and assembly operations can be undertaken for the international market; create an environment to attract ‘anchor’ investors and other innovative knowledge-based firms to relocate their regional and international operations to Jamaica.
Holness pointed to the special economic zone (SEZ) law and regulations as critical components of the Logistics Hub Initiative, which will provide the legislative framework to attract manufacturing companies and technology firms to engage in value-added activities on goods trans-shipped through Jamaica. The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) is the organisation established to regulate and facilitate the development of SEZs in Jamaica. The authority is currently working to oversee the enactment of the new regulations.

JSEZA TO FACILITATE TRANSITION

The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, which is housed in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, will be facilitating the transition from free zones to the special economic zone regime. JSEZA will regulate and supervise SEZs, while providing a policy direction for the development and sustainability of Jamaica’s economy through the administration of SEZs. Further, the authority is mandated to attract new and diverse investments in SEZs, while simultaneously providing a policy direction for the development and sustainability of Jamaica’s economy. The operations of the authority will seek to grow the Jamaican economy by increasing its production capacity through job creation.
The SEZ legislation, which was enacted August 1, 2016, and resulted in the repeal of the Jamaica Export Free Zone Act, will move Jamaica into a new age of trade and development. An integrated approach has been taken in order to ensure that the environment is conducive to the growth of both goods-producing and service industries. Importantly, the Customs Act is also being revised to make it more supportive of the development of logistics operations linked to the trans-shipment addition of value to goods through the island’s special economic zones, seaports and airports.

… Development a must for boosting economic growth

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared the development of the logistics sector key to achieving targets such as making Kingston “the leading trans-shipment terminal in the region in 2018”, and, ultimately, boosting economic growth and job creation.
The latter push is of critical importance to arriving at the five per cent GDP growth promised by the end of the financial year 2020-2021.
“Jamaica has to use all of its advantages in the pursuit of sustainable economic growth and development,” Holness told lawmakers.

MAJOR MILESTONES

Two major milestones in the roadmap to support the development of Jamaica as a logistics hub are currently being funded by the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth (FCG) Project which is a loan programme from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). In the first instance, US consultancy firm Nathan Associates Inc is due to present, by July 2017, an industry analysis and master plan that is expected to guide the development plan for the Logistics Hub Initiative. Second, the feasibility study for the large-scale Caymanas Special Economic Zone is currently underway.
The Government is encouraged by the efforts of private-sector investors to take up the challenge to further develop logistics operations on numerous strategically located parcels of land for the construction of warehousing and to facilitate manufacturing, assembly, business process outsourcing, and other value-added activities.

GOJ Partners with Singapore to Develop Special Economic Zone

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, this morning (January 26) met with Daniel Seah, Deputy Director of Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and representatives from the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) to discuss the partnership between both governments to develop Jamaica’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was signed between the Jamaican government and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise in December 2016 will see the development of a comprehensive road map which will foster a SEZ environment.

Prime Minister Holness said that the “development of the SEZ will greatly impact Jamaica’s economic development as all Jamaicans should benefit from the Zone.”

This he says will be possible with limited intervention from government.

The three tiered MoU establishes that the SCE will develop a world class Special Economic Zone; provide planning and workforce skills qualification framework and create a business environment within Special Economic Zones.

The Jamaican government on August 1, 2016, promulgated the Special Economic Zone Act which repeals the Jamaica Free Zone Act.

This makes provisions in respect of the development, regulation, construction, supervision, management and control of Special Economic Zones in Jamaica.

It is expected that the SEZ will create a modern framework to attract investments in planned industrial clusters that develop and deliver a wider range of goods and services.

Present at the meeting were, Hon. Daryl Vaz, Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary, Metry Seaga, Chairman, Special Economic Zone Authority; Dr. Eric Deans, CEO, Special Economic Zone Authority and Diane Edwards, President, JAMPRO.

Source:http://jis.gov.jm/goj-partners-singapore-develop-special-economic-zone/

What’s so special about the Special Economic Zones Act?

A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) generally refers to a geographically demarcated area within a country that offers special economic regulations and procedures to entities which operate within the zone.

The passing of the Special Economic Zones Act (the Act), which effectively repealed the Jamaica Export Free Zones Act, represented a major initiative by the Government of Jamaica to improve the manner in which SEZs were designated, promoted, developed, operated and managed within the country.

The intention was that the introduction of a modern SEZ regime would result in greater investments (both domestic and foreign), increased employment and economic growth for the country. Set out below are some of the significant reforms introduced by the Act.

Under the Act, the category of persons who may utilise the SEZ consists of developers, occupants and zone users. A developer is defined as a company limited by shares incorporated under the Companies Act of Jamaica and established by a sponsor (ie an investor) for the purposes of entering into a master-concession or a licence agreement to develop and construct an SEZ.

 

An occupant refers to a person who conducts business in the SEZ under a sub-concession agreement with the developer. Zone users are persons, other than occupants and developers, who have been authorised by the authority (defined below) to perform activities or services within the SEZs.

Perhaps one of the most significant reforms introduced by the Act was the establishment of the Special Economic Zones Authority (the Authority). It is believed that the introduction of an autonomous authority will enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the SEZs. Some of the functions of the Authority include the handling of development applications; management and operation of a business acceleration centre, which will assist with the communication and co-ordination of regulatory activities with Government entities on behalf of the developers and occupants of the SEZs; promotion and marketing of the SEZs; and the raising of capital to execute its functions under the Act.

Under the previous free zone regime, manufacturing entities were only allowed to supply up to 15 per cent of production to the domestic markets. This cap on domestic sales has been removed under the Act, which will result in sustainable linkages between SEZs and the rest of the Jamaican economy. Entities within the SEZs are now able to freely sell goods on the local market and export goods to businesses outside of the SEZs. The hope here is that this will lead to increased domestic employment, increased exports, and will facilitate the participation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

A number of additional tax benefits and incentives have also been introduced under the Act. For instance, entities which operate within the SEZs will benefit from a 12.5 per cent reduction in income tax; there is no General Consumption Tax on electricity or telephone services provided to entities within the SEZs; and the Act provides for stamp duty relief of 50 per cent of the duty payable upon the purchase, lease or other acquisition of land used by a developer of an SEZ. The tax benefits and incentives are conferred upon the Authority as well as developers and occupants of the SEZs.

The Authority has the power to allow for the establishment of an SEZ in which only specific economic activities such as maritime or aviation may take place. The Authority may also establish an SEZ in which only a single entity may operate. It is also important to note that there are a number of activities which may not be carried on within an SEZ.

These prohibited activities are set out in the Act and include tourism services, financial services regulated by the Bank of Jamaica or the Financial Services Commission, construction services – save where such services form a part of a manufacturing process within the SEZ, health services excluding research and development, retail trade, telecommunication services, public utilities, real estate, catering services and extractive industries such as mining, quarrying or drilling.

Another significant reform under the Act is that developers can now establish SEZs privately through concession or licence agreements with the Authority. These developers must have at least US$1.5 million in capital as a prerequisite to obtaining a concession or licence agreement with the authority. A developer that is an MSME will not have to meet this capital requirement so long as the Authority determines that it has sufficient development potential and is likely to meet the capital requirements within four years.

Lastly, the Act provides for the introduction of a special Customs regime for SEZs. It requires the commissioner of Customs to make arrangements for the availability of Customs services within the SEZs on a continuous basis, the establishment of Customs procedures and systems that will enable electronic transactions and payments and pre-arrival clearance of goods and the efficient transportation of goods and equipment destined for an SEZ without any unnecessary delay.

The passing of the Act has undoubtedly established a modern SEZ regime for Jamaica. Over time, we will see if this regime results in sustained growth and development for our country’s economy. In terms of finding out how the SEZ may benefit you and your business, there is, however, no time like the present.

– Samantha Moore is an associate attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Department. Samantha may be contacted via samantha.moore@mfg.com.jm or www.myersfletcher.com This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/What-s-so-special-about-the-Special-Economic-Zones-Act-_74650

Over 200 expected at logistics hub symposium tomorrow

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Key partners in the staging of a logistics symposium are upbeat and have high expectations for a successful, information-sharing event.

The symposium, slated for Saturday, July 23 at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in Mona, St. Andrew, is expected to attract approximately 200 persons representing both the public and private sectors, including the thinkers, implementers, business strategists, companies and individuals who may wish to capitalise on the future growth of the global logistics industry.

Chairman of the Logistics Hub Initiative, Dr Eric Deans explained that the symposium will look at what it means to become a logistics gateway and how Jamaican businesses can fit into a global marketplace.

“We would want to have more sharing of knowledge as to what is happening with the logistics hub…persons need to be aware of what is taking place within the region, what is happening in terms of goods moving through the region, investments taking place in other countries, various investment trends and countries positioning themselves to take advantage of these trends. So it is about breaking it down to the individual level to let persons understand how they can take advantage of these happenings,” Deans pointed out.

Vice-President of Cable & Wireless Business, Donovan White said that he expects a continued flow of information with small, medium and large enterprises and for them to understand the importance of the logistics hub initiative (LHI) to long-term microeconomic success.

 

“My expectation from the symposium is that people will come and walk away being a lot more aware…there is a lot that has gone on in the last year in terms of behind-the-scenes work (as part of the logistics hub initiative) and so, the more people come with an open mind and believing that there is a move to change our economic development in a positive way, then I believe people will leave feeling that we are on to something and that they need to get involved,” White expressed.

The day’s proceedings will begin with a plenary and opening ceremony featuring a presentation from the economic consulting firm Nathan Associates Inc, entitled ‘Master Plan and Industry Analysis for the Global Logistics Hub Initiative’. This session will provide an update on findings and state of developments relating to the global logistics hub initiative.

The sessions following will include panel discussions on three key areas within the global logistics industry: manufacturing, transportation and services.

The symposium is being staged by Mona School of Business & Management (MSBM), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Jamaica Logistics Hub Taskforce, Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation, Port Authority of Jamaica and Caribbean

Maritime Institute in association with Cable & Wireless Business, Sutherland Global Services and the Shipping Association of Jamaica.

source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Over-200-expected-at-logistics-hub-symposium-tomorrow