THE Government is holding talks with a number of prospective investors on projects that are expected to establish 400 acres of additional special economic zone (SEZ) space across the island, estimated at a value of more than US$1.3 billion.
Construction on the projects are expected to start during this financial year.Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Everald Warmington made the announcement in his sectoral debate presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The projects include a facility at Grand Ridge in Montego Bay, a 65-acre zone with commercial, educational, medical/pharmaceutical and commercial industries; a 26-acre film studio and post-production facility in Trelawny; and the Seaview Eco-Industrial Park in the Seaview/Riverton area. The projects make up about 250 acres of mixed-use facilities, data centres, petrochemical, and logistics industries, Warmington said.The SEZ Authority, he said, would continue to work closely with investors to bring the projects to fruition.
Meanwhile, he told the House that at the end of March last year 98 per cent, or 131 out of 134 approved free zone entities transitioned to the new SEZ regime.
“This number, together with the 52 new SEZ developers who entered into licensing agreements with the authority during the reporting period, brought the complement of SEZ entities to 183. This represents a growth trajectory of 30 per cent for the new regime,” he said.
These entities coming on stream have led to an increase in Government earnings from $22 million in 2019 to a reported $381 million by June 2020 and the creation of 50,391 new jobs in the information, communication technology and business process outsourcing, agribusiness, the logistics, and fuel sectors.
According to the minister, preliminary data suggests that after all the current SEZ projects have been processed and approved, employment numbers should jump to approximately 65,000, with women accounting for the majority of workers.