KINGSTON — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, says the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are crucial in tackling aspects of the global economic downturn.
"The SME sector plays a vital role in employment creation and income generation and is, therefore, critical for achieving sustainable growth in any country," Mr. Budhan declared.
He was speaking at the opening session of the 2011 Conference of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), organized by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in collaboration with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) on Friday (September 9) at the Wyndham Hotel, in Kingston.
Mr. Budhan stressed the need for the sector to be supported as a major contributor to social stability in the society.
"By buying goods and service from small businesses, their sales and profitability increase, as sales increase, and they are able to employ more people and thereby create more jobs," he said, noting that they are able to improve their technology and quality of products to enable them to increase their competitiveness and compete with the capital intensive transnational corporations.
"We must buy from small businesses, even though their prices may be higher initially, since it is through increased sale that they will be able to grow, develop, create jobs and maintain social stability," he added.
The Permanent Secretary said that, while success stories are told and repeated of big businesses, little is said of the large enterprises which do not take off.
He noted that the small and medium-sized sector is beset by lack of economies of scale, and lack of access to capital due to inadequate collateral but, given the potential for improvement and the vital role that they play in stabilizing the society, support from consumers is most important.
He said that everyone must have a place in the system, and the country must support some of those who may not be competitive now.
"The most valuable support for SMEs then is for us to support them by buying the goods and services that they produce, over low-cost imported goods from highly automated trans-national corporations. This will contribute to social stability," Mr. Budhan stated.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter