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Belize Government Signs Agreement For New ICT Operations

by Leroy Baker,, New York

27 November 2007

The Ministry of National Development has signed an agreement with Infotel International Limited, granting them Export Processing Zone (EPZ) status to establish a call centre operation and ICT business in Belize City, it was announced last week.

Under the investment plan, Infotel will provide data and voice processing services, including telemarketing, customer support, direct marketing, e-mail and website hosting, as well as other call centre services. Infotel has already established firm business relations with a number of international companies through its marketing alliance with Strategic Link Consulting Ltd, which operates out of Atlanta in the USA.

Signing on behalf of Infotel International Ltd. was Reynaldo Malik, and signing on behalf of the Ministry was Chairman of the Export Processing Zone Committee, CEO Hugh O’Brien.

The company's operations will be conducted from the ICT park located on Regent Street in Belize City, and will be managed by a DPRE Investment Company Limited, a locally owned company. Infotel has already contracted 35 employees, and will be adding 16 employees per month until it reaches its capacity of 158 local employees. Infotel is employing ICT technicians, ICT processors and quality assurance auditors, creating much needed high end employment for residents in the Belize City area.

The approval for Infotel to operate in Belize is part of a new thrust by the Government of Belize to expand the EPZ programme to include ICT companies, especially since they create higher income jobs for Belizeans. Two local companies now manage ICT parks and a total of five ICT companies are now operating as EPZs in these parks. These companies include Ready Call Ltd., an international call centre operation, and Pinnacle BST, an ICT application service, call centre support and software consulting company. It is expected that employment at these ICT companies with EPZ status will increase from under 1,000 at present to over 2,000 within the next two years.

An EPZ business in Belize receives a guaranteed tax holiday of 20 years, being exempt from income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax or any new corporate tax. Other benefits include:

  • An option to extend the tax holiday period;
  • Losses incurred during the tax holiday period may be carried forward and deducted against any future profits;
  • Any dividend paid by an EPZ business is exempted from tax in perpetuity;
  • Exemption from currency export taxes or foreign exchange taxes on all purchases or sales of foreign currency;
  • Exemption from customs duties, value-added taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, trade turnover taxes, tonnage taxes, consumption taxes or other taxes for all imports and exports of an EPZ business;
  • Exemption from capital gains tax on the sale of stock or other partial or complete ownership interest in an EPZ business;
  • Exemption from property or land tax and property transfer tax. The Land Tax Act does not apply to EPZ property.

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