Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Letter of the Day | Don't tar and feather BPO sector

Published:Tuesday | October 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) is concerned at the comments made by the president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Howard Mitchell, in your publication of Friday, October 19, 2018.

The authority continues to dialogue with one of our major stakeholders, the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), and businesses operating within that sector. In fact, we have had numerous meetings with the BPIAJ and have taken many of their suggestions on board. We will continue to encourage responsible and informed dialogue from all our stakeholders that allows our country to move forward.

We welcome meaningful suggestions from our partners in both the public and private sectors, and will continue to work with all parties to ensure that Jamaica experiences the economic growth and development which we know we are capable of experiencing.

With the SEZ regime, Jamaica is moving into a new dispensation which sees a more coordinated, structured and strategic approach to the development and growth of industry in the country through the establishment of world-class SEZs.

To realise the country's full potential in the development of these zones, and it is important that we use best-practice principles to attract investors, both locally and overseas, who will seek to further build Jamaica. This is why our application procedure requires companies to submit documents such as a health and safety plan for employees and the environs, as well as a security plan to protect employees from any harm.

 

Protect workers and resources

 

We are asking companies that have not been doing so to put this in place to ensure that workers and our resources are protected. In instances where companies may not have the required documentation, we have been working with them to develop same. We cannot move our processes forward without documents such as these; that would result in the authority breaking the law, which is not something that we will do.

As an authority and a country, we must get it right. This is our mission at JSEZA. It is towards achieving this that we have adopted an approach that will spur the growth of SEZs.

This is important to:

- Ensuring that zone operations are of a high standard.

- Creating a level playing field for all businesses operating within the SEZ space.

- Utilising a highly strategic approach to zone and national development.

- Creating an attractive investment opportunity for global players.

Jamaica continues to be a competitive destination for investments, particularly in the area of business process outsourcing (BPO). JSEZA continues to get considerable interest in the BPO industry from both local and overseas players. We continue to include our stakeholders in this process and look forward to hearing from them and addressing all reasonable concerns.

METRY SEAGA

Chairman, Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority