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Financial Logistics Hub Bills for Parliamentary Debate

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 5:01 PM

Parliament is to debate the two bills related to the establishment of the International Financial Services Hub today.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton will pilot the bills. He made the announcement yesterday as he addressed the luncheon in honour of the director general of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo.

Hylton says the bills will be one more step in the drive towards the establishment of a global logistics hub in Jamaica. He says this is in addition to Jamaica having a large pool of highly qualified professionals operating in the financial services sector, along with a robust ICT platform. The minister is predicting that once established, the International Financial Services Hub will lend support to the efforts in Jamaica's proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

"The International Financial Services Hub will be an important source of funding and will create the vehicles for transnational corporations to set up operations within the SEZs. This thrust is also in keeping with the existence of a financial-services hub at all the major logistics hubs, as a critical part of the ecosystem," Hylton said.

Opportunities for growth

Hylton feels the SEZs will be the space where innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise can thrive, and that this will create opportunities for workforce development, knowledge transfer and economic growth. He further touted the value of SEZs as far as the MSME sector is concerned. He says the SEZ Act has specially carved out provisions that qualify MSME firms to operate within the zones.

"MSMEs will, therefore, be able to operate on flexible terms that would help to reduce possible capital barriers to entry, provided that they can demonstrate sufficient development potential. Further, by removing the restrictions that were previously placed on trade between free zones and the rest of the economy, the Government is seeking to facilitate trade opportunities for MSMEs within the SEZs," he said.

The industry and commerce minister has been touting the value of a logistics-centred economy. He says it will offer benefits both at the macro and micro level of the Jamaican economy.