Blue Emerald gets SEZ status
Michelle Thame (left), operations manager; Peter Knibb (centre), non–executive director; Cecil Foster (right), managing director pose for a photo op following the signing of Blue Emerald's SEZ agreement. (Photo: Andrew Laidley)

FosRich has signed an agreement with the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) certifying its subsidiary Blue Emerald as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The JSEZA is the agency of the Government responsible for facilitating the development of and promoting investments in SEZs in Jamaica.

Companies that are certified as a SEZ benefit from tax exemptions within the geographical area in which they operate.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, managing director of FosRich Cecil Foster said the company has been working along with the JSEZA for more than a year. But he noted that the journey really started about four years ago when the company decided to move into manufacturing PVC pipes.

"We've decided that if we're going to manufacture these pipes, we want to really also focus on exports and therefore we've decided that the economic zone status will be a good one for us. So, we formed the subsidiary Blue Emerald and from there we started a year ago to apply for the special economic zone registration. The good news is today we have signed the document, the status has been gazetted and so it is in law and the agreement has been signed," the FosRich managing director noted.

Foster explained that the road towards becoming a SEZ was frustrating at times. However, he admitted that the due diligence was necessary.

"We went through the certification process which includes training and making sure that all the information relating to the space were ascertained," he said, continuing: "It was a lot of work and it took a lot of time. Even though sometimes it was a little bit frustrating because of the time. We're happy that the authorities have come to the point where they have certified Blue Emerald as the carrier of this SEZ status for the factory in Hayes, Clarendon."

Blue Emerald operates two 60,000-square-foot factories on seven acres in Hayes, Clarendon.

"We have all the desire now to do a great job in Hayes, Clarendon. We are going to be employing over 80 persons at that location so the community will benefit tremendously from this factory that is in their space. We are employing people from different sectors of the society, persons who will move around pipes plus technicians and engineers and the benefits will be tremendous," Foster stated.

He revealed that Blue Emerald has been certified to operate as a SEZ for the next 25 years. He said, "we'll have a little more to spend in expanding the factory and developing the FosRich footprint not only in Jamaica but across the Caribbean."

"We're already in Barbados, we're doing feasibility studies in Guyana and Cayman. We have some other countries that we're talking to and this offering which we will share with the market will grow our footprint further. We are already looking at the US market and we're hoping that whatever interactions we've had will bear fruit in the next couple of months."

In the meantime, FosRich also has plans to add new products to its offerings

"There's no one right now in Jamaica that is manufacturing sewer pipes and as you know, all the construction companies need sewer to flow somewhere. So, we are manufacturing those pipes in Hayes and we're looking forward to bringing that to Jamaica," said Foster.

Michelle Thame (left), operations manager and Peter Knibb (centre), non–executive director, look on as Cecil Foster (right), managing director signs the SEZ agreement for Blue Emerald. (Photo: Andrew Laidley)
Andrew Laidley

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