Jamaica reaffirms infrastructure investment commitment

Jamaica reaffirms infrastructure investment commitment
Audley Shaw, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, has reiterated the Andrew Holness government’s commitment to providing an enabling infrastructure for investment.

In addressing the opening ceremony of the third staging of the nation’s premier investment event, the Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF), at the Iberostar Convention Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Shaw said Jamaica is fast becoming the regional poster child for fiscal prudence and economic growth, according to the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

Shaw said this is buoyed by “a skilled and talented workforce with current and relevant legislative framework supporting established, as well as fledgling industries.”

Shaw, who has portfolio responsibility for JAMPRO, after previously serving as Minister of Finance and Public Service, noted that having provided macro-economic stability, he is now charged with micro-economic mobilization.

JAMPRO is an agency of the Government of Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) that promotes business opportunities in export and investment to the local and international private sector.

In reiterating the Jamaican government’s commitment to attracting investments, Shaw told the gathering of business leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and media that his administration has sought to build “a strong and robust landscape in which businesses can thrive, recognizing that comprehensive and supportive business facilitation frameworks are essential for investments and business development,” the JIS statement said.

Shaw said the Government of Jamaica has begun to develop two complementary electronic platforms designed to allow the investment and exporting community a more efficient service.

“The National Business Portal will be the central point through which all investment projects are routed, giving access to all relevant public stakeholders and thereby providing transparency and government cohesion while the National Trade Portal will serve as a precursor to the Electronic Single Window, aimed at fast tracking information sharing, facilitating online application submissions and enabling back office interface among Government’s Border Regulatory Agencies,” he said.

Shaw said the trade portal was approved by Cabinet in the 2017/18 budget under the overarching Trade Facilitation Initiative. The World Bank is supporting both projects as part of its Foundations for Competitiveness & Growth Project, GIS said.

During his address, Shaw noted that Jamaica’s move toward coordinating its development as a premier investment hub began with the coining of the National Investment Policy, approved for development by Cabinet in February 2017.

“This pivotal blueprint is the overarching policy framework by which the Government of Jamaica will attract and facilitate investments and will guide the development, administration and monitoring of the investment community, to ensure cohesion among all related initiatives, programs, incentive regimes and stakeholder contributions,” Shaw said.

During the current fiscal year, it is expected that the Green Paper will be tabled in Parliament as well as a series of national consultations toward “shoring up” the legislation, JIS said.

It said also pivotal to this investment infrastructure is the National Outsourcing Strategy, which forms part of the moves toward aligning Jamaica’s offerings in an attractively packaged and well supported framework with the needs of the overseas investor market.

This is a five-year strategy being rolled out between 2015-2020, aimed at developing and advancing the outsourcing industry in Jamaica, JIS said.

Shaw stressed that in support of this initiative, the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Regulations were passed in Parliament in October 2017.

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