Jamaicans in the diaspora are being reassured of the country’s readiness to do business with them and wider global investors.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says with the announced removal of most of COVID-19 restrictions and some gradual reopening of all industries, “Jamaica is open for business, even as we remain cautious and careful.
“Jamaica is ready to welcome your (diaspora members) investments. The Ministry that I lead and the agencies under my portfolio are prepared to fulfil the Government’s commitment to maintain a facilitating and enabling business environment. I look forward to discussions with you regarding investment opportunities in Jamaica,” he added.
The Minister was speaking during the second ‘Investing in Jamaica’ digital forum on Wednesday (March 23), jointly hosted by the Consul-General of Jamaica in New York, and the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Group.
Senator Hill noted that even in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaica maintained a very favourable investment climate.
He reiterated that over the last several months, the country received a positive ‘B’ rating and ‘Stable’ outlook from global credit rating agencies – Moody’s and Fitch.
Additionally, the Minister said Jamaica is party to several bilateral agreements that make doing business locally easier for foreign investors.
These, he pointed out, include bilateral tax treaties that aim to avoid double taxation with countries, among them the United States, Canada, France, and Germany, as well as those in CARICOM.
Senator Hill said Jamaica’s readiness to attract investments also includes strengthening local capacity to respond to investors’ need for a trained pool of competent and proficient local employees.
He indicated that this is being undertaken through the five-year Inter-American development Bank (IDB)-funded Global Skills Services Project.
Senator Hill pointed out that this initiative aims to train the country’s workforce in knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO).
He added that he will chair the Global Digital Services Sector Taskforce that oversees the project’s implementation.
“This project is intended to improve the skills development system in Jamaica to provide the global services sector with better-skilled workers in order to secure higher-level value-added jobs,” the Minister further stated.
Senator Hill, who emphasised that BPO entities are “big businesses in Jamaica”, noted that the sector has recorded growth throughout the pandemic and currently employs about 46,000 persons.
“As the country fills a growing need in the marketplace, this is a space for investing,” he added.
Senator Hill also encouraged members of the diaspora, among other interests, to participate in the World Free Zone Organization (WFZO) Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE), from June 13 to17 in Montego Bay.
He said the conference, being organised by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA), an agency of his Ministry, will be the biggest event staged locally since the onset of the pandemic.
“With the recent lifting of restrictions, we know that AICE will provide a grand opportunity for prospective investors to explore possibilities of investing in these special zones,” Senator Hill added.
The ‘Investing in Jamaica’ forum series aims to update and assure investors, including members of the diaspora, about the investment options available locally.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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