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Environmental Sustainability a Priority for SEZ Development


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May 2024
 

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), Kelli-Dawn Hamilton.

Above Body

 17 May 2024    admin   

The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) is placing emphasis on environmental sustainability as the country develops as a logistics hub.

JSEZA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, said the entity has received recognition from international bodies such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for including sustainable practices in assessing permit applications and other processes.

“One of the things we ensure that we’re looking at is whether or not the [permit] applications lead to the sustainable development goals that Jamaica is intending to meet, and also the impact of the investments on Vision 2030 and the overall objective of making our country the place of choice to live, work, do business, and raise families. So, in terms of sustainability, that is part and parcel of our assessment. It is embedded in our process to look at what impact, if any, these projects will have on our environment,” she said.

Ms. Hamilton, who was speaking during a JIS television ‘Get the Facts’ interview, noted that, among other things, applicants seeking to operate in the SEZ space must have the required approvals from the relevant authorities across government, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

“We will help persons to get their approvals as well and… we work very closely with JAMPRO and all our other agencies across the government that facilitate investment and play a role in providing these permits that businesses will need in order to operate,” Mrs. Hamilton noted.

There are currently 145 companies operating within the SEZ space in 195 locations across Jamaica.

Mrs. Hamilton pointed out businesses operating in these spaces are also keen on ensuring that the environment is protected, with an understanding that this is to the benefit of all parties.

“It is not taking away from the business but enhancing it. Ensuring that we protect the environment within which we operate is key. We can’t not do it, we can’t not take care of where we live,” she emphasised.

The JSEZA CEO pointed out that the long-term goal is to grow the economy of Jamaica by balancing the country’s exports against its imports.

“Right now, we have a large gap between the two. We have seen a significant improvement in the performance of our exports, and what JSEZA provides is a way in which companies can seek to export more cost-effectively, so you get incentives.

“The opportunities exist for infrastructure development. We are here to facilitate business and… we’re talking about a range of sectors that can benefit from SEZ designation. The opportunity is now,” Mrs. Hamilton said.

For more information on applying to operate in the SEZ space, visit the JSEZA website at https://www.jseza.com/.

Source: JIS

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