SHARING THE LOVE: Kitson Town basic gets facelift

Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.

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Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service

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News for Week of June 19, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Long-term tax-free benefits for Caymanas investors

Potential investors/developers who decide to operate within the proposed Caymanas Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in St. Catherine will enjoy tax-free benefits for an extended period.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill said that the Government is looking to attract interest in the development of the property as it seeks to get project up and running.

“They will get 50 years tax-free benefit – no taxes, no income tax for 50 years. In contract, by lease, you’ll get this wonderful piece of land,” he said.

SEZs are areas created within a country to facilitate rapid economic growth by leveraging tax incentives as a way of attracting foreign investments and technological advancement.

Senator Hill noted that 50 years without any taxes on dividends will be beneficial to the developer/investor who can arrange to have as many business operators rent their property, as they will have a long-term lease that will be renewable.

“You will get that profit; no taxes on it and then… if you bring in [items] as you will have to build it out, no taxes on it; you take it out, no taxes on it, but you can’t cross the border, you can’t sell into Jamaica when you’re in the SEZ,” he said.

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800 students for summer jobs across Jamaica

More than 800 students have been selected to participate in this year’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) Summer Internship Programme.

The programme will take place over two cycles and will see the first batch of interns working from June 27 to July 22, while the second batch will work from August 2 to 26.

Director of the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, a department of the TEF, Carol Rose Brown, said that the interns will work for four weeks in the public and private sectors, in areas relating to tourism, education and health, among others.

“They are stretched across the length and breadth of the country. We have students who work in every parish, and they are working in a variety of types of work,” said Ms. Brown.

Successful candidates were selected from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants, based on scores obtained in the aptitude test as well as the criteria of employers.

“All of the candidates who are invited to take up an assignment have the opportunity to get the American Hotels and Lodging Educational Institute Customer Service Gold Professional Certification,” said Ms. Brown who added that they will also receive an added certification through the HEART/NSTA Trust.

Ms. Brown said too that student without a bank account will be assisted with getting one through the National Commercial Bank (NCB), where they will be provided with a prepaid Mastercard.

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BOJ to begin rollout of digital currency month end

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is looking to commence national rollout of the Central Bank Digital Currency – JAM-DEX – at the end of June.

Governor Richard Byles said that the institution is at a point where “we are… ready [to proceed]”.

BOJ Director for Payment Systems and Policy, Mario Griffiths said the Bank is proceeding with the sole qualified financial institution onboarded to issue digital wallets, which are required to access the currency – National Commercial Bank (NCB).

Mr. Griffiths said it is envisioned that JAM-DEX will be utilized mainly on a person-to-person level as well as with micro and small merchants.

“These are merchants [who] have a presence on various websites as well as social media within Jamaica. We are considering the corner shops as well,” he noted.

The Bank spearheaded the successful pilot between May and December 2021.

The House of Representatives and Senate recently ratified the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act, 2022, which makes currency legal tender locally and enshrines the BOJ as the sole issuer.

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Come, please do business with us… it’s easy

Jamaicans overseas are being encouraged to seize the various opportunities available to invest in the island.

Declaring that “Jamaica is open for business”, Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Norman Dunn, said that there are opportunities for business activity across diverse sectors, including agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism, logistics and outsourcing.

He noted that entities such as Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Special Economic Zones Authority, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, and Companies Office of Jamaica, are available to provide ongoing support to potential investors.

“Jamaicans abroad, you are away but your heart is at home. You [are] invested in this country and we are saying to you, Jamaica is ready and open for business. This is your chance, your opportunity; seize the moment,” he urged.

He said that the Government continues to develop strategies to improve the ease of doing business. Among the measures is a National Investment Policy to better manage the development of Jamaica’s investment climate, in line with international best practices and norms.

Jamaicans overseas eligible for NIDS card

All Jamaican citizens, locally and in the diaspora, will be eligible for the National Identification Card, which will be issued with the rollout of the National Identification System (NIDS).

Said Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Floyd Green:
“It doesn’t matter if you are a Jamaican living in New York, the United Kingdom (UK) or wherever in the world. Once you are a Jamaican citizen, you can get a national identification card. Additionally, those who are resident in Jamaica for six months or more will also qualify for the NIDS card.”

He noted that while Jamaicans in the diaspora will be able to go online and pre-enrol for NIDS, they will be required to visit an enrolment site in Jamaica to provide their biometric information.

“[Jamaicans in the diaspora will need to visit] the enrolment site, so that we can capture your facial image, we can take your fingerprint and we can process your card. The beauty of the pre-enrolment site is that you will be able to not only enter your information but set an appointment… for when you are travelling to Jamaica,” he said.

The procedure for enrolment into NIDS will be simple and easy to follow. Persons must submit documents such as birth certificate, proof of address or marriage certificate.

The first step involves the collection of applicants’ biometric data and supporting documents. At the next stage, a reference number will be given for the applicant to track the application online. In the final stage, once the verification is done, a notification will be sent to the applicant to collect, pin, and activate the national ID card that will be issued.

The first NIDS pilot enrolment site is scheduled to be established in Kingston and St. Andrew by August 2022 to facilitate a national pilot. Five additional enrolment pilot sites are to be set up in the Corporate Area before the end of the year.

The Minister said it is anticipated that by early 2023, the rollout of enrolment centres throughout Jamaica will begin.

“The plan is to have at least, initially, two enrolment sites per parish. In some urban centres, we will have to have more as we roll out… . By… mid-2023, we should have our enrolment sites up and ready and we should have a full national rollout,” he said.

Cooling the Hottest Cities

By Rushad Nanavatty and Sheila Aggarwal-Khan

WASHINGTON, DC – Extreme heat is having its moment in the sun. This year’s headlines have been as relentless as the temperatures: “Spain endures record heatwave,” “Devastating heatwave in South Asia,” “Texas shatters heat record,” “Can you even call deadly heat ‘extreme’ anymore?”

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This worldwide coverage has called attention to a massive challenge that will only grow in scope and seriousness. Nowhere are cooling measures more urgent than in our cities, where streets, buildings, industries, and vehicles could increase temperatures by a catastrophic 4° Celsius by the end of the century, putting the world’s poorest people at highest risk.

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