Special Economic Zone Authority hosts sensitisation session

Special Economic Zone Authority hosts sensitisation session

…places emphasis on roles of Tax Administration, Customs

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) on Monday hosted its first sensitisation session for 2020, at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, targeting developers and occupants of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The session focused on the importance of regulation and monitoring by JSEZA and the roles of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) in the operation of free zones.

“Once you become a part of this family our role is to help you grow your business, grow your zones, and introduce you to new markets,” chief executive officer of JSEZA Dr Eric Deans said on behalf of JSEZA Chairman Metry Seaga.

He highlighted that hosting sensitisation sessions and providing after-care services, such as their business acceleration programme, are a few of the ways JSEZA helps SEZs to grow, while monitoring and regulating them under the Special Economic Zone Act, 2016.

“SEZs are seen as economic drivers and have a good track record in other countries. We intend that SEZs will be successful in Jamaica,” Dr Deans said.

He pointed out that to achieve this the JSEZA must have compliance among SEZ developers and occupants.

“We focus on compliance and not punishment. Our mandate is to regulate the space, as we should ensure there is a balance between the Government of Jamaica giving up fiscal benefits to create jobs and attract investments, ultimately benefiting citizens like yourselves,” he explained.

He added that regulations are necessary when monitoring developers and occupants because SEZ incentives are primarily tax benefits while operating within the ambit of international trade agreements between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“What this means is that for you to get these benefits the Government is giving up something. It's giving up its taxes, Customs duties, and General Consumption Tax (GCT) based on a licensed contract where you say you will provide certain services in return for these benefits,” Dr Deans said.

JSEZA director of Stakeholder Relations, Management and Communication Captain Richard Sewell noted that mismanaged free zones are known for money laundering and illicit activities and urged SEZ developers and occupants to comply with the Act and operate with transparency.

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