Govt Close to Finalising SEZ Regulations – JAMPRO

Photo: Mark Bell Chief of Trade and Investment at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Fabrizio Opertti (2nd right), introduces Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative to Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones (2nd left), to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tholons Inc., Avinash Vashistha. Looking on at left is President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards. Occasion was the presentation of a preliminary study on opportunities for growth in the services outsourcing sector at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in New Kingston on January 31.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is advanced in building out the policy framework for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, including finalising regulations for the special economic zones (SEZ) in which they will operate.
  • Special economic zones represent a wide variety of geographically demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors. The SEZ Act was passed last year making provisions in respect of the development, management and control of such zones in Jamaica.

The Government is advanced in building out the policy framework for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, including finalising regulations for the special economic zones (SEZ) in which they will operate.

“Right now, the BPO resides on a number of pillars. One of those pillars is the SEZs and we are on the brink of finalising the regulations towards the SEZs,” said Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) President, Diane Edwards.

“That is critical in driving the industry forward because a lot of them (BPOs) are operating in those zones,” she noted.

She was speaking with JIS News following the presentation of a preliminary study, which examines the opportunities for growth in the services outsourcing sector, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on January 31.

The full study, titled ‘Scaling Up the Value-Chain- Opportunities for Growth in the Services Outsourcing Sector’, is expected to be released in the coming months.

Special economic zones represent a wide variety of geographically demarcated areas that offer simple and efficient business regulations and procedures to investors.
The SEZ Act was passed last year making provisions in respect of the development, management and control of such zones in Jamaica.

It is expected that the SEZs will create a modern framework to attract investments in planned industrial clusters that develop and deliver a wider range of goods and services.

Ms. Edwards informed that a meeting was recently held with three Ministers of Government and key stakeholders to examine ways to further propel the BPO sector.

The Ministers are Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz; Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid; and State Minister in the Finance and the Public Service Ministry, Hon. Fayval Williams.

Others present were representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tholons Inc., Avinash Vashistha. Tholons is a leading full-service strategic advisory firm for global outsourcing and investments.

“We wanted all the stakeholder Ministers to understand the critical drivers of this industry going forward and the role that their Ministries have to play in energising and catapulting this industry to the next level,” said Ms. Edwards.

The JAMPRO President noted further that they also needed to recognise that it is the human capital and talent that will catapult the industry into a digital age and that the sector continues to evolve from business process outsourcing to business process management.

For his part, the Tholons Inc. CEO said countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and the Latin America region represent key markets for Jamaica to target in growing the BPO industry.

He cited opportunities in areas such as tourism, medical transcription and legal outsourcing.

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