National Minerals Policy to be submitted to Cabinet

first_img Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, says Cabinet is to receive a submission shortly on the National Minerals Policy (NMP) for the management and development of Jamaica’s mineral resources. Mr. Henry, who was addressing a press briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices on Tuesday (November 14), said the NMP recognises that a modern and vibrant minerals sector must be based on robust and efficient institutions as well as profitable industries. Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, says Cabinet is to receive a submission shortly on the National Minerals Policy (NMP) for the management and development of Jamaica’s mineral resources.He noted that the draft document focuses on the sector’s diversification and continued growth.“It is proactive, flexible and visionary. It brings together the elements that have guided the country’s mineral-related laws, agreements and actions to date,” he added.Mr. Henry, who was addressing a press briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices on Tuesday (November 14), said the NMP recognises that a modern and vibrant minerals sector must be based on robust and efficient institutions as well as profitable industries.He said the document introduces new policy initiatives and is designed to effectively address the challenges of small island states participating in a competitive global minerals sector.“The NMP places emphasis on partnership between the public and the private sectors; outlines the possible benefits of the structured development of the minerals sector to the Jamaican people; and the mix of policy measures, objectives and strategies to be pursued in order to realise the sector’s continued transformation and optimal development,” Mr. Henry said.He noted that the new policy embraces sustainable development and creates a balance between complex competing interests and the goals of the national development policy, Vision 2030.“This will allow us to take advantage of other mineral resources, particularly through the development of value-added products, the mining and quarrying sector plan and other significant national polices. Importantly, the policy considers environmental issues, which are infused in the strategies to transform the sector,” he noted further.The draft NMP is divided into three segments: Jamaica’s minerals sector, the minerals/mining policy framework, and moving forward.The segment on Jamaica’s minerals sector provides background information, a profile of the local minerals industry and an outline of the context within which the policy is crafted and focused.The minerals/mining policy framework sets out the key policy issues, positions, goals and outcomes. This section also outlines the strategies that will be utilised to achieve the desired outcomes; addresses the proposed legislative changes and the various agencies responsible for implementing different aspects of the NMP.On moving forward, this segment outlines the implementation framework, including the proposed changes to existing entities and the new bodies that need to be created to allow for its successful implementation.The segment also addresses how the successes of the policy will be evaluated and the monitoring framework. “The NMP places emphasis on partnership between the public and the private sectors; outlines the possible benefits of the structured development of the minerals sector to the Jamaican people; and the mix of policy measures, objectives and strategies to be pursued in order to realise the sector’s continued transformation and optimal development,” Mr. Henry said. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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47 Foreign Nationals Granted Citizenship

first_img Mr. Montague said the occasion was a time to celebrate the fact that despite the challenges facing the country, there are still hundreds of persons from other nations who want to make Jamaica their home and “want to share this privilege with those of us who are born here”. Story Highlights Forty-seven foreign nationals living in Jamaica have been granted citizenship by the Government. Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Andrew Wynter, pointed out that approximately 3,000 foreigners are granted Jamaican citizenship annually. Forty-seven foreign nationals living in Jamaica have been granted citizenship by the Government.They were presented with documents formalising their status by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) during a swearing-in ceremony at the Police Officers’ Club in St. Andrew on December 14.The ceremony was attended by National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, who has portfolio responsibility for PICA.Mr. Montague said the occasion was a time to celebrate the fact that despite the challenges facing the country, there are still hundreds of persons from other nations who want to make Jamaica their home and “want to share this privilege with those of us who are born here”.Noting that some 2,000 persons were deported from the island last year, with another 537 being denied entry, the Minister emphasised that the participants had been afforded an “exceptional privilege” by being granted citizenship.“We are happy to welcome you. (While) each person has a different background, what unites us is that you are now Jamaicans. You have varying skills and talents, which can now be used to help your new country. You will now take on the duties and responsibilities of Jamaican citizens… and you must take these very seriously,” he added.Mr. Montague encouraged them to engage in community activities and civic duties while honouring their statutory obligations.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Andrew Wynter, pointed out that approximately 3,000 foreigners are granted Jamaican citizenship annually.He said that the latest batch of 47 persons represents the largest number of candidates granted citizenship on a single occasion, adding that PICA has granted citizenship to some 10,000 persons during its 10 years as an executive agency.“This is a watershed moment for the agency, as we have come to recognise that there are approximately three to five million Jamaicans in the diaspora who have descendants, relatives and others who are eligible for Jamaican citizenship. It is our intention to reach out to them to be a part of the family of this our great Jamaica,” Mr. Wynter said.Citizenship recipient, Dr. Ehis-Oje Pius Areghan, who responded on behalf of the group, described the occasion as an opportunity that “comes with responsibilities”.“It now becomes our responsibility (as new citizens) to exercise our civic duties, especially to help one another,” he said.Dr. Areghan, who is originally from Nigeria, is based at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.“I am happy to be (here). The joy and love I have gotten from Jamaicans, I doubt I would ever get it in any other country,” he added.last_img read more

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Business Leaders Welcome Decision Not to Implement New Taxes

first_img Several business leaders have welcomed the Government’s decision not to implement new revenue measures to fund the 2018/19 Budget, which amounts to $773.6 billion.Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, in opening the Budget Debate on March 8, indicated that Government expenditure for the fiscal year will be primarily financed from the existing tax and non-tax revenue and grants regime.He says emphasis will be placed on boosting compliance to improve collections particularly at Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Larry Watson, welcomes the decision, citing it as one of the Budget highlights.He tells JIS News that the decision reflects a promise kept by the Government, which he describes as “good and solid.”“I think it is clear that steps are being taken to make Jamaica more efficient in tax collection. The fact that we are seeing the revenues surpassing budgeted amounts is a big positive and hopefully, this is bringing more persons and businesses in the informal economy into the formal economy,” the JCC President says.He further points to studies indicating a potential reduction in tax rates if all income earners begin fulfilling their statutory obligations.Noting that “overall the Budget was good” Mr. Watson says it suggests that “we are on a path of recovery” which, he points out, commenced under the previous Administration and is continuing under the current Government.He, however, expresses concern about crime and the potential to derail economic gains and as such, welcomes the increased allocations for national security as “a very positive move.”The JCC President says the fact that some unions representing public sector workers have not yet signed the four-year wage agreement with the Government is also a matter of concern.He notes that Jamaica being locked into an International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement and benefitting from other resulting multilateral financing support requires the country to “toe the line” as regards programme and policy implementation.Mr. Watson says, however, that unlike the earlier years of the multilateral support that were characterised by more stringent guidelines, “I believe toeing the line is now more comfortable (and) palatable.”He urges civil servants to exercise some constraint and consideration.“If we can get the restraint of the public sector groups, I am pretty confident that the economy will grow and that would allow for a little more generosity in the wage guidelines. Success is journey, not a destination,” Mr. Watson says.The JCC President further points to the fact that the economy has not achieved the levels of growth as expected, due primarily to adverse weather conditions, which affected the agricultural sector.“Once we have good weather this year we should record some more growth,” he contends.He says there is need for steps to be taken “to now really put the economy into gear” to achieve sustainable levels of growth.To this end, he cites the need for more investment and infusion of technology in agriculture, further diversification of the country’s production base, and advancing work with the Special Economic Zone Act and accompanying engagements.Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) President, Metry Seaga, says he too is “extremely pleased” that there are no new taxes in the Budget and that “the economy seems to be on the right track.”“I think there will be renewed confidence over the forthcoming fiscal year. I think that people will be happy to hear that there are no new taxes and with that will come some additional confidence and investments,” he tells JIS NEWS.Mr. Seaga maintains that the prevailing macroeconomic stability is creating an environment that can enable Jamaica to achieve higher rates of growth.He calls for greater focus on manufacturing in order to achieve the desired growth levels.For his part, Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) President, Hugh Johnson, welcomes plans for the creation of a micro stock market or “nano market” on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).Minister Shaw, who made the announcement during his Budget presentation, said the nano market would cater to the needs of micro enterprises.“The march towards a formal economy is an absolute requirement because it helps to promote discipline and, ultimately, it enhances the productivity and profitability of businesses. In that context, we have to keep looking out of the box,” he indicated.Mr. Johnson describes this as a timely decision that will enable fledgling businesses to access capital “that they wouldn’t have normally been able to get”, adding that “the best part of the proposal is that it’s providing equity financing.”Meanwhile, he says the SBAJ welcomes the decision not to impose new taxes this year, and the heightened focus that will be placed on boosting compliance.“We have been saying all along that if they get more people into the net, they will be able to reduce even the burden on those who have been bearing it for many years,” Mr. Johnson points out.In this regard, he lauds the TAJ for taking steps to improve client service delivery.Noting that previously, customers had to interface with multiple officers, he says “it is now just a one stop process, where you can go on your computer and within 15 minutes, you can file your returns… and we see these as welcomed improvements to the system.”“That is what we have been saying all along… that business operators aren’t against paying taxes… what we need is the ease of paying taxes. Hence, we have been seeing an influx of new entrants and also we are shooting for the second year in a row, above projected targets of revenue. So unlike previous years, when we used to fall way below targets, now we are shooting ahead of projections,” he adds.Mr. Johnson, however, cites several areas which he says the Government needs to focus on doing more work.Among these, he tells JIS News, are the implementation of more substantial measures that will facilitate heightened growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; allocation of significant resources for farm road rehabilitation; and ensuring that arable lands earmarked for agriculture are so utilised and not used for unrelated engagements. Several business leaders have welcomed the Government’s decision not to implement new revenue measures to fund the 2018/19 Budget, which amounts to $773.6 billion. Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, in opening the Budget Debate on March 8, indicated that Government expenditure for the fiscal year will be primarily financed from the existing tax and non-tax revenue and grants regime. Story Highlights Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Larry Watson, welcomes the decision, citing it as one of the Budget highlights.last_img read more

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Rent Restriction Act to be Amended

first_imgSeveral amendments are being proposed to the Rent Restriction Act, which are expected to address current challenges in the rental industry and make it more equitable for landlords and tenants.According to Senior Director in the Housing Policy, Research and Monitoring Branch of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Paula Parkes, the challenges which exist in the industry relate mostly to standardisation of security deposits, timely recovery of possessions and breach of tenant and landlord covenants.Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Friday, May 18, she said among the changes being proposed is an amendment to the name of the Act to ‘The Rent Act’. She said the word ‘restriction’ will be removed to make it clear that the Act covers the entirety of the rental industry.The matter of security deposits, which are not mentioned in the original 1944 Act, will also be included in the amended Act. “The provisions will include standardisation of the number of months of deposits that renters are entitled to charge. Currently, we are recommending one month for unfurnished premises and two months for furnished. Additionally, the provisions have guidelines for the use and refund to tenants,” Ms. Parkes clarified.Another provision being proposed relate to the recovery of possessions, which will now fall under the ambit of the Rent Assessment Board. The Board’s powers will be expanded to manage such cases, thereby reducing case load in courts and bring about timely solutions to matters.Minimum standards for rental premises; permissible rent; and fines and penalties will also be proposed for inclusion in the legislation.The public is being invited to provide feedback on the proposed amendments, during a series of consultations being conducted at locations island wide from May 15 to June 20.The current Rent Restriction Act applies to all building land unless such land is leased for a term of 25 years or more and to all dwelling houses except those which are let for boarding, let for housing pursuant to the provisions of the Housing Act or declared exempt by the Minister of Housing pursuant to section 8 of the Act.The Act has been amended 11 times since it was enacted, the last being in 1983.last_img read more

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Medicanja Limited Launches Cannabis-Based Nutraceutical Products

first_imgStory Highlights The products, which have been approved by the Ministry of Health, include CanjaRub, CanjaCol, Relevium Cream, Relevium Spray, Somnican (One Drop) Orals, Tivasat Oromuccosol Spray, I-Cann, CBD Oil Sublingual Drops and Daily Single-dose Syringe, Epilec Pro, Cannrepel Anti-Itch Mosquito Repellent Spray, and Sclorican. Medicanja Limited today (July 26) launched its full suite of 12 cannabis-based nutraceutical products during a ceremony at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa on Lady Musgrave Road, St. AndrewThe products, which have been approved by the Ministry of Health, include CanjaRub, CanjaCol, Relevium Cream, Relevium Spray, Somnican (One Drop) Orals, Tivasat Oromuccosol Spray, I-Cann, CBD Oil Sublingual Drops and Daily Single-dose Syringe, Epilec Pro, Cannrepel Anti-Itch Mosquito Repellent Spray, and Sclorican.In his remarks, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the development of the products demonstrated Medicanja’s commitment and “the advancement of an industry that, even though it has been around for a very long while, still has to be considered [as being] in its relatively infant stage”.“From a public health perspective, we are with you and we are with those who are committed to taking this particular approach. We want to be as accommodating as possible, because we do have a responsibility also, in public health, to advance solutions to the public health concerns of our people,” he stated.The Health Minister noted that the public health sector acknowledges the benefits of medicinal marijuana, adding that “we have seen enough to be convinced that there is significant potential”.For his part, Executive Chairman, Medicanja Limited, Dr. Henry Lowe, noted that his company was confident in the safety of its products, “with the expectation (that) they will be approved by the healthcare authorities, and by other Ministries of Health, regionally and globally”.“The time has come for us to use the achievement of Medicanja to bring a new type of regional collaboration, based on enlightened technical cooperation and trade through the use of our products and services in the CARICOM region,” he stated.Dr. Lowe further argued that “if we truly believe in regional cooperation, and wish to work together with each other on the matter of medicinal cannabis, then as I stated before the time is now”.He pointed out that Medicanja’s achievements over the last four and a half years have been “nothing less than phenomenal”, adding that the basic scientific research and development, clinical research studies, formulation and product development have been achieved in a relatively short time, while meeting the required quality standards.“The launch of these 12 products today is a landmark to the rest of the region and world, where we have demonstrated that little Jamaica can use science and technology and innovation to create a variety of healthcare products,” Dr. Lowe stated.Medicanja Limited was established in December 2013 by Dr. Lowe to chart the course for the development of a medical marijuana industry in Jamaica.Cannabis, known locally as ganja, has long been regarded as a plant with outstanding medicinal properties.center_img Medicanja Limited today (July 26) launched its full suite of 12 cannabis-based nutraceutical products during a ceremony at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa on Lady Musgrave Road, St. Andrewlast_img read more

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Agricultural Sector Can Produce More for School-Feeding Programme – Shaw

first_imgStory Highlights Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the agricultural sector can produce and make more local foods available to support students through the School-Feeding Programme. “There are several agricultural products in which we have already achieved 100 per cent market share that could be used in the School-Feeding Programme, such as carrots, callaloo, cabbage, pumpkin, sweet potato, breadfruit, cassava, yam and green banana, just to name a few,” Mr. Shaw said.center_img Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the agricultural sector can produce and make more local foods available to support students through the School-Feeding Programme.“There are several agricultural products in which we have already achieved 100 per cent market share that could be used in the School-Feeding Programme, such as carrots, callaloo, cabbage, pumpkin, sweet potato, breadfruit, cassava, yam and green banana, just to name a few,” Mr. Shaw said.He was speaking in the House of Representatives on October 9, as he made his contribution to a motion brought by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Rev. Ronald Thwaites, regarding the increased use of nutritious local produce under the School-Feeding Programme.Mr. Shaw noted that if the School-Feeding Programme entered into contracts with specific farmers, “we could increase agricultural production, employment and farm income in rural areas.”The Minister emphasised that a very important food that must be incorporated into the School-Feeding Programme is sweet potato.“It is a very healthy food for us to feed to our children while they are in school. Information passed to me indicates that sweet potato contains over 15 health benefits, including the prevention of vitamin A deficiency; improvement in vision; and the management of weight and diabetes,” Mr. Shaw said.He added that sweet potato can also help in the fight against certain cancers; assist to regulate blood pressure; prevent ulcers and improve memory.Mr. Shaw said that pumpkin purée is another important food that can be incorporated into the School-Feeding Programme.He noted that pumpkin purée contains 10 per cent of the daily requirement for potassium, which is needed to support a healthy digestive system. A cup of pumpkin purée, he added, supplies 3.4 grams of iron, a mineral that supports the immune system.The Minister pointed out that these crops are easy to utilise in the meal plans for children.last_img read more

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Mount Salem and Denham Town ZOSOs Extended for Further 60 Days

first_img The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Mount Salem, St. James, and Denham Town in West Kingston will be extended by a further 60 days.The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 11), approved two Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.The extensions are for up to February 16, 2019 in the case of Denham Town and March 7, 2019 for Mount Salem.Prime Minister Holness said that the ZOSOs are currently in the build phase, where there is a focus on intervention projects.“By design, this build phase is being implemented in three stages on a road map that has being developed by the social intervention committee. The first stage was a focus on citizenship intervention… the second stage we started road rehabilitation, access to health services, water regularisation, sanitation, zinc fence removal, green spaces and school rehabilitation,” he noted.“Now, the phase that we are in island regularisation and housing. That phase will take an extensive period, far greater than 60 or 120 days, to give people titles, do surveys of lots and help them to reorganise communities. All of that work is now being planned and some have actually started,” he pointed out.The Prime Minister told the House that during a recent tour of Mount Salem, he saw the progress of work on a number of projects.“You could see that the construction of the walls… just moving the zinc fences, paving the roads, (cleaning) the gullies, has transformed the physical environment. People just feel better about their community,” he said, stressing that these projects require adequate time for completion.A Zone of Special Operations can be declared under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.The law seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social intervention initiatives in areas where a zone operates. Story Highlights The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 11), approved two Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.center_img The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Mount Salem, St. James, and Denham Town in West Kingston will be extended by a further 60 days.last_img read more

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Siem Offshore Secures New Charter Contracts for Its Vessels

first_imgzoom Siem Offshore and Marine Platforms Limited have entered into a new contract for the MRSV “Siem Marlin”.The contract is made at market terms and is for a firm period of one year with commencement in April 2014.Statoil has exercised the option to charter the large-size PSV “Siem Sailor” for one additional year commencing February 2014. Statoil has an option to extend the charter for one addition year.Siem Offshore, October 30, 2013last_img

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DNV GL to Establish Marine Battery Forum

first_imgzoom DNV GL is now running a pilot project that prepares the ground for the establishment of a Marine Battery Forum, which shall work to ensure that Norway is a world leader in maritime battery-based value creation.The forum shall be a tool for effective realization of the government’s ambition of green growth within the maritime sector and a vision that Norway will be a world leading maritime nation and an attractive maritime host country. The industry shall deliver the most environmentally friendly, innovative and competitive solutions for the future. El – ships and hybrid vessels can become a pillar of Norwegian environmental policy, similar to electric vehicles, and which also provides important industrial policy results.Electric ships and hybrid ships with energy storage in large batteries can provide significant reductions in fuel costs, maintenance and emissions, as well as improved responsiveness and thereby improved regularity and safety in critical situations. The importance of cleaner energy in shipping makes use of batteries becomes increasingly important. In the future, probably most ships will be hybrid or plug-in hybrid.The aim of the meeting was to assess who intends to become a member. More than 80 managers from charterers, owners, yards, and vendors had enthusiastic and fruitful discussions, also including Norwegian authorities, in a meeting at DNV GL Høvik on March 4th. The meeting was headed by Remi Eriksen , DNV GL Group Executive Vice President and COO.DNV GL, March 4, 2014last_img read more

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Slower Industrial Activity in China Bad News for Shipping

first_imgSource: BIMCO, September 16, 2014 zoom The demand for dry bulk shipping and container shipping in China is bound to change according to the slowdown in Chinese industrial production growth. The downturn adds to the existing concerns that China is going through challenging times, as Beijing aims for a soft landing and a transition of the economy, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) writes.“China’s industrial production growth level is the lowest since February 2009 when activity was under immense pressure in the early days of the global economic and financial crisis,” according to BIMCO.Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, Peter Sand, said: “Today’s production data from China shows that the world’s second-largest economy is still struggling to keep up with past performance. The forecast level of 7.5% GDP growth in China can be a challenge to reach with, by Chinese standards, such a sluggish level of industrial production.“Industrial production accounts for half of the Chinese GDP and is the part of the economy which is vital for shipping. A slowdown in manufacturing is a sign of lower demand, which could affect demand for shipping of containerized goods.“A lower activity level for utilities and mining companies suggest that less energy is required and construction activity may be slowing down too. In itself this is not positive for dry bulk shipping demand.”last_img read more

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