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  • The freezone secured 100 occupancy of its offices and factory rental spaces, with more than 7,000 jobs created.
  • Industry Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, commended the management team while attending a function to mark the expansion of American business process outsourcing (BPO) firm, the Elephant Group’s, expanded operations at the Free Zone.
  • Mr. Hylton welcomed the venture, describing it as an example of the level of creative public/private sector partnerships that the government is seeking to facilitate.

Industry, Investment, and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has lauded the management of the Montego Bay Free Zone for securing 100 per cent occupancy of its offices and factory rental spaces during 2013/14, resulting in US$121.9 million (approximately $13.4 billion) in foreign exchange earnings, and more than 7,000 jobs being created.

He notes that the figures surpassed the projected 98 per cent occupancy for offices, and 94 per cent for factory space at the Free Zone, which were targeted for the 2013/14 fiscal year.

Contact centres have dominated activities at the Free Zone, with the number entities in operation increasing from four in the 1990s, to 16 at the end of 2013/14.

Mr. Hylton contends that increased occupancy of the Free Zone will enhance growth in several areas, including employment and foreign currency earnings.

The Minister was speaking at Friday’s (May 2) official opening of American business process outsourcing (BPO) firm, the Elephant Group’s, expanded operations at the Free Zone.

The project saw the entity expanding its office space to 2,700 sq. ft., at a cost of nearly $77 million (US$700,000). Six hundred additional jobs are expected to be created, as a result.

This development was carried out over a 14-week period under an arrangement with the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), which owns the building where the Elephant Group’s operations are housed.

This arrangement entailed the firm undertaking project financing in exchange for concessionary rental from the FCJ, over a period, to recover the expenditure.

The Florida-based Elephant Group, which first opened offices in the Montego Bay Free Zone in 2013, has been offering technical sales support, and selling products for United Stated-based television, internet, and telephone service providers, its past 17 years of operations.

Mr. Hylton welcomed the venture, describing it as an example of the level of creative public/private sector partnerships that the government is seeking to facilitate.

“These are the kinds of creative solutions that we must have in a time where the government, itself ….is constrained by its fiscal programmes. If, therefore, the government does not have the flow of funds, we must find creative solutions of public/private partnerships, such as the kind involved in this (FCJ/Elephant Group), as a basis for continuing the supply to the growing demand,” he said.