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Nicaragua’s vibrant free zones sector continues to grow
The Central Bank of Nicaragua recently revealed that the country’s free zones sector generated 9,355 new jobs during 2011, reaching a total of 100,374 employment positions filled to date.
This volume represents 17 percent of total Nicaraguans insured by the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute and represents a weekly injection of approximately US$5 million to the national economy in salary payment, according to estimates of the Superior Council for the Private Sector (COSEP, for its acronym in Spanish).
“The free zones sector is the main formal job creator in Nicaragua”, affirmed José Adán Aguerri, President of COSEP, explaining that “workers in the free zones are hired with social security and therefore enter into formality”.
General Alvaro Baltodano, Technical Secretary of the National Free Zones Commission and Presidential Delegate for Investments, affirms that the government’s new goal is to reach a total of 115,000 jobs in the sector by the end of 2012.
“There is going to be a growth in the footwear, textiles, harness and tobacco manufacturing”
Javier Chamorro Rubiales, Executive Director of PRONicaragua, the official investment promotion agency, highlighted that when making a relation between jobs generated and dollars invested, the free zones sector proves to be the most labor intensive sector in the country, which is why there is an interest in attracting investments into this sector in 2012.
In 2011, Nicaragua attracted a total of US$967.9 million in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), of which US$130.2 originated from the free zones sector, representing 13 percent of total investments attracted last year. Free zone exports reached US$2,029 million in 2011, a 29 percent increase compared to the US$1,574 registered during 2010.