News

PIOJ optimistic

Agency says Logistics Hub Initiative and Special Economic Zones projects will drive growth

BY KARENA BENNETT
Observer business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


WITH an estimated 1.7 per cent growth in GDP for the October to December 2018 quarter, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is predicting that growth of up to three per cent, over the next five years, will be led by projects associated with the Logistics Hub Initiative and the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Jamaica's planned Logistics Hub Initiative and Special Economic Zones, along with the port and other major infrastructure developments and the 'Blue Economy' were yesterday highlighted by PIOJ Director General Dr Wayne Henry as the main drivers of medium-to-long-term growth for Jamaica.

He was speaking at the institute's Review of Economic Performance for the period October to December 2018.

Despite the improved quarterly performance, which brought to six, the consecutive years of economic growth for Jamaica and the highest annual growth average of 1.8 per cent over the past 12 years, Henry noted that, increasingly, there have been questions as to the initiatives that are expected to drive growth during the medium term, given that several of the current growth projects come to an end within the next two years.

Henry outlined that growth is expected to emanate from Jamaica's 3,900-hectares Logistics Hub Initiative, which is expected to create approximately 100,000 jobs from capital expenditure of US$28 billion.

“The Government of Jamaica is in the process of finalising a bilateral agreement with the Government of Singapore and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to provide the technical assistance during the implementation phase,” he told media representatives.

A total of eight Special Economic Zones are included among the major pipeline projects proposed for Jamaica with an estimated capital investment of US$8.9 billion, covering 6,000 hectares (14,846 acres) of land with focus on global business process outsourcing (BPOs), distribution, logistics services and manufacturing.

The PIOJ director general said the country is expected to benefit from emerging areas to include industries such as ship repairs, aviation, automobile, electronics, clean energy, limestone, and creative industry, among others.

“By the end of 2019 it is expected that a total of 106 existing Freezone companies would have transitioned to the SEZ. Under the SEZ, existing companies would no longer be entitled to a zero-tax regime but instead will be required to pay Corporate Income Tax (CIT) of 12.5 per cent. This is expected to generate additional revenue to support growth,” Henry said.

In 2020, it is anticipated that there will be the start-up of at least three of the new SEZs, namely, 876 Logistics Limited; Phase 1 of the JISCO SEZ and Industrial Park; and the Caymanas Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) North. A year later, the PIOJ expects that there will be a roll-out of the Caymanas SEZ South and the Jamaica German Ship Repair, while 2022 will see the undertaking of phase II of the JISCO SEZ and Industrial Park and the Amaterra SEZ.

As for the port and other major infrastructure developments, Henry stated that the Port Royal Cruise Port, using Sea-Walk technology for a floating cruise pier, is being implemented with the support of key stakeholders over a three-to-four year period.

Development work will also continue at Reynolds Pier for the Ocho Rios Cruise Port to be able to accommodate larger vessels, and improve the aesthetics of the port, while completion of an additional 157,000 sq ft of new purpose-built Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) facilities in Portmore to create approximately 4,000 new jobs in the BPO sector.

Jamaica's 'Blue Economy', which encompasses the sustainable management and use of marine resources whilst simultaneously optimising its economic and social benefits, was one of the key economic opportunities highlighted by the PIOJ.

According to Henry, Jamaica has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) more than 20 times greater than its land mass and, therefore, efforts are being focused on ensuring that the blue economy is fully integrated in the country's long-term development.

He said policies are being implemented to ensure that marine life is managed, while developing and exploiting goods and services provided by the marine environment. These include goods such as fish and shellfish, as well as biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Henry noted that some of the specific initiatives being implemented by Jamaica including the development of a climate smart fisheries management plan, the implementation of a coral reef restoration programme and the exploration of species diversification for export purposes, such as sea cucumbers which are in high demand by Asian countries for medicinal purposes.

“... The potential for generating more robust rates of growth in the medium-to-long term exists. Concentrated efforts must, therefore, be focused on ensuring that implementation is in keeping with targeted timelines,” Henry said.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT