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  • Jamaica is currently ranked 64 out of 146 nations in the 2014 Forbes Best Countries for Business Report.
  • Making the disclosure, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, said this makes the country the best in the Caribbean region to do business and third in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The Minister also noted that Jamaica has also moved up eight places on the Global Competitiveness Index and is now ranked 86 out of 144 countries for 2014/15, up from number 94 in 2013/14.

Jamaica is currently ranked 64 out of 146 nations in the 2014 Forbes Best Countries for Business Report.

Making the disclosure, Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, said this makes the country the best in the Caribbean region to do business and third in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He was opening the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 12.

The Minister said this and other achievements are as a result of the Government’s new legislative framework along with the general improvement in the macroeconomic environment.

He further noted that the international community continues to take note, and acknowledge the country’s progress, pointing to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report which showed an improvement in Jamaica’s ranking from number 85 to number 58 out of 189 countries.

“Of note, is that Jamaica is now the best rated country in the English-speaking Caribbean and one of the most improved globally,” he said.

The Minister also noted that Jamaica has also moved up eight places on the Global Competitiveness Index and is now ranked 86 out of 144 countries for 2014/15, up from number 94 in 2013/14.

“These are achievements for which all Jamaicans should be proud,” the Minister quipped.

Turning to the Government’s work to improve the legislative environment, the Minister noted that this past year, the Administration has “continued our ambitious legislative calendar.”

He informed that the Insolvency Act was passed, a new Electricity Act was introduced, and a new Procurement Bill has been tabled in the Parliament and is currently being considered by the House.

“We have established a Collateral Registry under the Secured Interest in Personal Property legislation. We have strengthened the administrative powers of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) through legislation and introduced an electronic platform for the payment of taxes,” he said.

The Government has also streamlined business registration and the development approval processes to achieve a 90-day window for development approvals; and has also improved the operations of Jamaica Customs.

Further, Dr. Phillips noted that over the past fiscal year, the country implemented the most far-reaching tax reforms that have been done over the past 20 years or more.

“We have introduced a suite of legislation designed to revamp our previous system of fiscal incentives (Customs Tariff Resolution, Stamp Duty Order, Fiscal Incentives Act and the Income Tax Relief Act),” he said.

Dr. Phillips said the net effect of these changes has been to “substantially incentivise the productive sectors and improve the rate of return on investment.”

The Finance Minister noted that the country’s continued progress has been achieved as a result of “sacrifices made by public sector workers, the bond holders and pensioners; indeed the taxpayers generally to whom this Administration and this Parliament, and this country will forever be indebted.”

“It is as a result of these sacrifices that we have been able to lay strong foundations on which we can now build confidently,” he said.