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Hill: Nat’l Investment Policy to boost growth, reduce corruption

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2022 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investment and commerce, addresses the audience at the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference on Day One at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Tuesday.
Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investment and commerce, addresses the audience at the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference on Day One at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Tuesday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Investment Minister Aubyn Hill has expressed confidence that the National Investment Policy (NIP), which is to be tabled in Parliament soon, will create a smooth path for prospective investors to do business in Jamaica and reduce corruption.

“The NIP ... is designed to make sure we have a clear direction as to what we want to invest in. The sugar industry is gone, and banana as an industry is a different arrangement which is now much reduced. So we have to find new ways to make our economy grow, and clearly one of those ways is the SEZ (Special Economic Zones),” he told The Gleaner on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“There is a focus on making the zones agreeable and attractive to prospective investors. We have to make sure the Customs arrangements are there, and that the incentives that are in the 2016 act are enunciated and people know about them,” Hill said of the SEZ Act, which repealed the Jamaica Export Free Zones Act.

“If you are a master developer, for instance, you can negotiate a very long-term tax-free arrangement for all the rental income that you would get from that master development. We want to stress that the SEZ is an investment destination,” he added.

Dr Norman Dunn, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, told the conference that the NIP has been approved by the Cabinet.

“This is a major signal of the Jamaican Government’s commitment to engender a business environment that bolsters and enhances economic development and growth through sustainable investments,” Dunn said. “The NIP also underpins the National Business Portal (NBP), which is intended to drive improvements in the business environment by shifting government [services] online, while also ensuring to incentivise and prioritise investments which are critical to Jamaica’s sustainable economic growth.”

The NIP, which was previously tabled in the House of Representatives in 2020, is intended to provide a framework for creating the environment necessary to attract local and foreign direct investments. The policy was tabled at that time along with the National Five-Year Manufacturing Growth Strategy.

In the meantime, Hill noted that the NIP will also help to create a more rules-based framework that will significantly reduce the chance of corruption entering the investment process.

“ ... We are putting in structures that make the economy work better and make us all more compliant and accountable. We are making our business, our investments, and the way we run our country more rules-based, so that people do not have to use political influence and, therefore, encourage corruption to get done what they have to get done in Jamaica,” said the industry, investment and commerce minister.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com