Special economic zone regulations for Parliament

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

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ROSE HALL, St James — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has disclosed that in another two weeks, the long-awaited special economic zone (SEZ) regulations will be taken to Parliament.“I am pleased to announce — and I am making the announcement today (last Thursday) so that it will happen; yes, sometimes you have to make the announcements so that the people who make it happen, knows that it has happened — that in another two weeks the regulations will be brought to Parliament that will finally bring to light the special economic zones,” Holness said.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of Jamaica International Exhibition, which is a trade show that was hosted by the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association from June 1-3, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James last Thursday.

“The legislations and regulations will be business-friendly, but 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... and for ensuring that we cannot be penetrated for terrorism or used for other nefarious activity. We have to strike the right balance,” Holness reasoned.

“So the Government is engaged in a very involved process of improving our business climate, in improving the regulatory environment, in ensuring that we create the infrastructure for business,” he added.

According to information from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, a Special Economic Zones represent a wide variety of geographically demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors.

A Special Economic Zone Act, which was passed under the previous People's National Party Administration, has effectively repealed the Jamaica Export Free Zones Act, making way for the designation, promotion, development, operation, and management of Special Economic Zones; the establishment of a Special Economic Zone Authority and the grant of benefits and other measures in order to attract domestic and foreign investments.

Jamaica Manufacturers' Association President Metry Seaga is the chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority.

A Jamaica Observer article had stated that the Special Economic Zone Authority is mandated to handle 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.

— Anthony Lewis

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