Growth & Jobs | Road to easy business ... Kingston to north coast network world class - Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hailed the island's road network, which connects Kingston to the northern coast, as world-class. He argues that having very good infrastructure makes it a lot easier to do business.
"We are making those investments in our physical infrastructure to make doing business that much easier," he told the large gathering of business operators and local and international buyers attending the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association's inaugural Jamaica International Exhibition last Thursday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The prime minister said that a good judge of a proper business environment is "when persons are actually making the investment in the physical space".
"I must tell you that the Government has taken on a very proactive stance in improving the logistics of our urban townships," Holness added. "This is where the majority of our factories and our productive operations are."
Holness updated the country on the long-awaited new era in doing business in Jamaica, the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), in the country. He said that regulations would be taken to Parliament in another two weeks to bring Jamaica on par with countries like Costa Rica.
Declaring that the zones would signal the start of a new approach to doing business, he said, "We have to strike the right balance, so we will have to ensure the right environment is in place." He added that legislation and the regulation would be business-friendly.
PM : Special Economic Zones should be free from corruption, terrorism
Persons doing business in the zone will be required to meet all the good-governance requirements to ensure that their businesses are in line with Jamaica's obligations for anti-corruption, the prime minister stated.
"We will have to ensure our financial sector is solid and the zones cannot be penetrated for terrorism or used for other nefarious activities," he said.
A special economic zone is an area in which business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SEZs, as they are called, are usually located within a country's national borders and their aims include increased trade, increased investment, job creation, and effective administration.
In an effort to encourage businesses to set up in the zone, financial policies are introduced. These policies are usually in relation to taxation, trading, quotas, Customs, and labour regulations. The creation of special economic zones is also motivated by the desire to attract foreign direct investment and to give companies the opportunity to produce and trade goods at a lower price aimed at being globally competitive.
Areas around zones to be developed
The prime minister further added that the zones would represent a significant enhancement to the country's industrial infrastructure, noting that as part of the integrated development strategy, areas around the zones would be developed for other uses such as commercial, residential, and recreational."
His announcement comes on the heels of his admission of a first quarter that was not as bright as projected.
"We would have wanted it to look good. I expect that future quarters will look better because people are making the investments now," he stated with conviction.