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State-Of-The-Art ICT Centre To Open In Belize EPZ

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

06 April 2007


The Ministry of National Development, Investment and Culture has announced the signature of an agreement with Pinnacle BST Company granting them Export Processing Zone status to establish a state of the art Information and Communications Technology (ICT) operations in Belize.

Under the investment plan, Pinnacle BST will provide technical application services and call centre support in software consulting to its parent company, Pinnacle Group Worldwide of the United States.

Operations for the company will be conducted from the EPZ park managed by International Communication Services Ltd. (ICSL) at the Burrell Boom junction in Ladyville. At maximum capacity, Pinnacle plans to employ 100 programmers and software technicians, creating much needed high end employment for residents in the Belize City area.

The approval for Pinnacle BST to operate in Belize is part of a new thrust of the government of Belize to expand the EPZ programme to include ICT companies, especially since they create higher income jobs for Belizeans. A total of four ICT companies are now operating as EPZs in Belize, the largest of which is Ready Call Centre. Ready Call Centre, which operates out of Belize City, presently employs an average of 700 Belizeans, and this number is expected to increase to 1,500 in the next two years.

While new applications have been approved for ICT companies, the government continues to streamline the EPZ programme. In 2006, only 8 new EPZ companies were approved bringing the total number of EPZ companies operating in Belize at the end of 2006 to 73. However, Minister of National Development recently signed a statutory order revoking the EPZ status for 18 non-performing companies, reducing the total number of EPZ companies currently operating in Belize to 55. Despite the lower number of EPZs, employment by EPZ companies is up from 3,746 in 2005 to 4,204 in 2006 and exports are also up from US$147,774,984 in 2005 to US$160,222,840 in 2006.

The Ministry of National Development, Investment and Culture, being responsible to administer the EPZ programme, said that it is focused to ensure the full compliance of the EPZ act and regulations in order to optimize economic benefits, including increasing local and foreign investment, diversifying the export base, and creating new employment for Belizeans.

Signing on behalf of Pinnacle BST Company was Mr. Michael Fuori and signing on behalf of the Ministry was Chairman of the Export Processing Zone Committee, CEO Hugh O’Brien.


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