Special Economic Zone operators urged to adhere to regulations

Special Economic Zone operators urged to adhere to regulations

Friday, February 28, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Entities within the country's Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being urged to adhere to the regulations governing their operations.

Senior legal officer and corporate secretary at the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) Chantal Bennett said the regulations are intended to boost investment opportunities within the zones, generate employment, and enhance the contribution of SEZs to economic growth.

She noted that one of the key obligations of SEZ developers and occupants is to grant open access to the JSEZA, Jamaica Customs Agency, Tax Administration Jamaica, and “any other competent authority”.

“You might have a situation where Customs might have to come and do an inspection or the authority might need to come and look at something and this is to help you. Don't look at it as we are coming to police you,” she said at a recent sensitisation session for SEZ developers and occupants at the S Hotel in Montego Bay, St James.

“It is beneficial for you, the developer… the authority and Jamaica for us to work together. For us to be able to have that inspection or access to the zones is necessary,” she added.

Bennett said further that developers and operators are obligated to provide accommodation and amenities for the JSEZA and other key stakeholders.

“The authority and Customs can come into the zone and you should have an area where they can be accommodated and we can discuss how much that space needs to be, which depends on the zone and the type of activities,” she explained.

Bennett also reminded SEZ entities that they also have a responsibility to submit biennial reports on their operations to the JSEZA.

“The reporting helps because we are looking to see what our SEZs have to offer and we want to provide this information worldwide, so that more investors can come to Jamaica. Additionally, when we know about the challenges that companies might have; we have the business partner and the business acceleration centre that can help, so we need the report,” she said.

SEZ operators were also reminded to comply with labour, occupational, health, and immigration obligations.

Bennett noted, too, that the provision of technical training to all levels of workers within the zone is also critical.

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