Using ICT to Market Jamaica – Minister Paulwell says Country has done well


Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell has said that Jamaica has done exceptionally well at marketing itself, not just in the obvious sectors such as tourism, but also in other critical areas, through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
He made these comments during a panel discussion, on the theme, ‘The Impact of Technology on Marketing’, which was hosted by Ashchar Consultants Limited at the company’s Waterloo Road offices in Kingston.
Stating that marketing was of absolute importance to the survival and success of any business and any country, Mr. Paulwell noted that while there was some infrastructural work to be done in the ICT sector, government was working to ensure the development of this industry to make local companies more visible on the Internet.
He said increasingly, with the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector, more access to broadband technology was being facilitated, as well as e-commerce (e-government) and telecommunications. E-government initiatives in particular have seen the benefits of fiscal and trade agencies being brought online. These include online payment of government related transactions to improve the efficiency of the payment mechanism. This system is being introduced in two phases, with the first phase being payment for General Consumption Tax, Special Consumption Tax, corporate PAYE, and Education Tax. The second phase will facilitate the National Insurance, self-employed persons and the HEART Trust/NTA.
In addition, the Customs Department and the Trade Board have now been web-enabled. Since the liberalisation process began, the sector has attracted some US$500 million in investment.
Chairman of the Trade Board, Ambassador Peter King argued that the cost of putting effective marketing strategies in place was not a major barrier as it had been in former years, as most sophisticated marketing strategies was now available to the smallest vendor, through increased access to ICT. He added that technology had created new ways to market products as well as foster a more competitive environment.
Ambassador King noted that the agricultural sector was one of the traditional sectors that had introduced different types of technology in its operations, as ‘back of the bus’ standards were not acceptable in a global environment where Jamaica was competing with the world. He also said that the programmes being developed in schools, geared toward information and communication technology, was very encouraging, as was the fact that those responsible for imparting the knowledge, were being adequately equipped, through continuous training and upgrading of skills, as it related to this vital industry.
Director of Marketing at Ashchar, Charlene Ashley also reiterated the importance of marketing, saying that local producers whether of service or goods, had a tendency to create a product or service and then try to sell it, instead of first finding out what the market demands were and then providing such goods and services.
The panel discussion, which involved an executive panel of ICT, business and other interests, was developed as a means of bringing business operators, executives and experts within the field together to discuss the importance of marketing to the successful operation of businesses in Jamaica.
The forum was as a special component of the company’s 2nd Annual Marketing Challenge Competition, which is geared toward tertiary level students and which seeks to involve them in the process of creating a marketing plan for leading local companies. The candidates will write essays on ‘Globalisation’, ‘Marketing Jamaica to The World’, and ‘The Impact of Technology on Marketing’.

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