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  • Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says additional reforms being accelerated by the Government to improve Jamaica’s global competitiveness should serve to further boost the country’s ranking on the World Bank Doing Business Report Index.
  • He said despite Jamaica improving 16 places on the Index to be ranked the most competitive Caribbean country with which to do business, acceleration of the reforms is imperative in light of 71 other countries recording significantly higher scores and rankings.
  • The country is ranked 75th among 190 economies, according to the 2018 Doing Business Report.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says additional reforms being accelerated by the Government to improve Jamaica’s global competitiveness should serve to further boost the country’s ranking on the World Bank Doing Business Report Index.

He said despite Jamaica improving 16 places on the Index to be ranked the most competitive Caribbean country with which to do business, acceleration of the reforms is imperative in light of 71 other countries recording significantly higher scores and rankings.

The country is ranked 75th among 190 economies, according to the 2018 Doing Business Report.

The Minister was speaking at the eighth annual National Competitiveness Council (NCC) Business Environment Roundtable Forum, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, on May 9.

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, addresses the National Competitiveness Council’s eighth Annual Business Environment Roundtable Forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on May 9.

“All countries are striving to do better…and we not only want to be more competitive in each of the areas that we are measured, but we want to do so at a faster pace than the other countries. The Prime Minister has been vocal about the Government’s appetite for reforms that will lead to faster economic development,” Dr. Clarke said.

Among the reforms now under way, which the Minister said are expected to propel Jamaica further up the Doing Business Index, are abolition of the ad valorem stamp duty on property transfers and financial transactions; and the Minimum Business Tax, effective April 1.

Other reforms, which he said are at various stages of completion and have or will come into effect during the 2019 calendar year, are introduction of the Business Electronic Form, facilitating the registration of businesses and company names; implementation of the Port Community Systems’ truck appointment system module, slated for completion in June with the entire platform scheduled to come on stream in December; and the phased rollout of the Single Electronic Window, initially targeting the integration of nine border regulatory agencies, beginning with the Trade Board by July and another 11 thereafter.

Dr. Clarke advised that work has commenced to re-engineer the processes at the Plant Quarantine Unit in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, adding that the Veterinary

Services Division is expected to undergo a similar reconfiguration by year end. Both departments will also be added to the Electronic Single Window.

Programmed reforms for 2020 include the addition of the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) export registration process, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Pharmaceutical Division to the Electronic Single Window; the removal of 14 import-export licences issued by the Trade Board, as approved by Cabinet; rollout of the National Land Agency’s e-titling programme; and creation of a National Business Portal, which will facilitate online applications for a number of government entities.

Dr. Clarke said these and other engagements are expected to enable the country to maintain pole position as the leading Caribbean State with which to do business, “and accomplish the goal that the Prime Minister has set for Jamaica to be a top-10 country as far as doing business is concerned”.

“The work of the Government will continue and will be focused on impacting sustainable improvements to Jamaica’s competiveness as measured by the Doing Business Report… because we fully recognise that it is through competitiveness that we can have sustained investments, job creation, growth and improved standards of living into the future,” the Minister said.

The forum, which was held under the theme ‘Going Beyond! Getting Jamaica in the Global Top 10’, highlighted the work being done by the Government and NCC, which is housed at JAMPRO, to institutionalise reforms as a daily part of the country’s operations.