Sat | Jun 25, 2022

Growth & Jobs | Long-term, tax-free benefits for investors in Caymanas SEZ

Published:Tuesday | June 21, 2022 | 12:06 AM
Port Authority of Jamaica Vice-President Gary Lawrence (left) speaks to Yarisol Lopez (second right) and Ricardo Munoz Tejeira (right) on the opportunities Jamaica has on offer as Minister of Industry,  Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill (second l
Port Authority of Jamaica Vice-President Gary Lawrence (left) speaks to Yarisol Lopez (second right) and Ricardo Munoz Tejeira (right) on the opportunities Jamaica has on offer as Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill (second left) looks on during a tour of the proposed Caymanas Special Economic Zone on June 16.

Potential investors/developers who decide to operate within the proposed Caymanas Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in St Catherine will enjoy tax-free benefits for an extended period.

This was disclosed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill, who said the Government is looking to attract interest in the development of the property as it seeks to get the Caymanas SEZ project started.

“They will get 50 years’ tax-free benefit – no taxes, no income tax for 50 years. In contract, by lease, you’ll get this wonderful piece of land,” he said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has mandated the Port Authority of Jamaica to get the project started.

SEZs are areas created within a country to facilitate rapid economic growth by leveraging tax incentives as a way of attracting foreign investments and technological advancement.

Hill was speaking on June 16 to global investor delegates/participants from the World Free Zones Organization’s Annual International Conference and Exhibition 2022, held in Montego Bay, St James, from June 13 to 17.

INVESTOR TOUR

As part of the conference, they were participating in the Port Authority of Jamaica’s (PAJ) investor tour of SEZs, ports and logistics facilities, which began at the proposed site of the Caymanas SEZ, where more than 650 acres, to comprise industrial and commercial spaces, will be developed for logistics purposes.

Hill further noted that 50 years without any taxes on dividends will be beneficial to the developer/investor, who can arrange to have as many business operators rent their property, as they will have a long-term lease that will be renewable.

“You will get that profit; no taxes on it and then … if you bring in [items], as you will have to build it out, no taxes on it; you take it out, no taxes on it. But you can’t cross the border, you can’t sell into Jamaica when you’re in the SEZ,” he advised.

The investment minister further informed that the Government will be investing between $40 million and $60 million in the property to put in place the necessary utilities, including water. It will also have broadband access.

He informed that the investors/developers who wish to develop the property will have a negotiated period of time within which to undertake development.

Hill pointed out that the Bank of Jamaica will allow investors to take in “clean money”, because if it’s not clean, “we don’t even have to find it, other people will find it and tell us you’re not clean… so don’t bother with it – clean money in, clean money out; no currency restrictions”.

He also reminded investors that Jamaica has an ample workforce available, noting that mainly young, trainable persons comprise the 1.5 million people living in the Kingston and Portmore, St Catherine areas.

From an elevated platform on the property, prospective investors were given a clear vantage point to see the site’s proximity to key commercial and residential developments.

The tour also included the Kingston Logistics Park, Kingston Freeport Terminal Ltd, and the Port Royal Cruise Port.

Held annually, the conference is a marquee event for free zones and associated entities.

Hosted by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, this year’s conference featured global business leaders, multilateral organisations, and policymakers from some 140 countries who are driven towards the development and expansion of SEZs.

JIS