Caymanas industrial development still critical - Deans
Dr Eric Deans, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Special Economic Zones Authority (JSEZA), said Tuesday that the build out of new industrial space at Caymanas in St Catherine remains critical as there is a shortage of space for new investors.
First touted some nine years ago, the Caymanas Special Economic Zone was cited as important element of the plan to establish Jamaica as a global logistics hub.
The greenfield site now slated for the CSEZ consists of 1,400 acres or 566.56 hectares of land in St Catherine, owned by the Urban Development Corporation.
"The biggest constraint for getting the development that we need right now is a shortage of space," said Deans, referring to factory and other operating space for companies as a critical need.
"What Caymanas represents is a flagship project. Kingston Free Zone is only 15 acres and it's full. Montego Bay is also full," he said.
Earlier this month, JSEZA said prospective investors have floated projects totalling US$1 billion under the economic zone programme.
The plans for the Caymanas Estates Development Area were floated in 2007. Over time, the CSEZ itself time has been passed from one government agency to another, but now Deans says the new approach is more focused.
Referring to previous tenders for developments in the area, including by Factories Corporation of Jamaica, Deans commented, "it is only now being done in a coordinated and comprehensive manner".
He said a new feasibility study will be completed in 10 months, paving the way for development of the zone to go to tender.
"We are in the process of doing the feasibility and then it will go out to tender as a public-private partnership. Under that arrangement we will get a private sector party to come in and do the investment, put up the infrastructure and put up buildings, and so on. Once the feasibility is finished and we have something we can present to an investor, that's another 10 months," he told Gleaner Business.
The Special Economic Zone Act was passed in 2016 to replace the free zones. Under the new system, developers of the zones will qualify for tax incentives, but must have minimum paid up capital of US$1.5 million, while the occupants of a designated SEZ must have US$25,000 of paid up capital.
SEZ occupants are also required to invest a minimum US$50,000 in equipment, buildings and plant during year one, but small and medium-sized entities with the potential for high growth will also be considered on a case-by-case basis by JSEZA.