President of the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF), Wayne Chen, has stressed the need for businesses to operate within the formal economy, noting that this is critical for the country prosperity.
"We recognize that one of the foundations of our future development will have to be increasing formality within the spheres of economic activity," Mr. Chen stated on September 4, as he addressed a JIS Think Tank.
Mr. Chen pointed out that businesses that operate in the formal sector have a greater capacity to grow, improve their efficiencies and become more competitive in order to face the future challenges as the economy becomes more globalised.
"When we operate in the formal sector, that is, adhering to the regulations, the laws and the high standards of practice in the country, is when Jamaicans will truly benefit," he stated.
The issue of informality will be among areas of focus for the JEF as it observes National Employers’ Month in September.
Mr. Chen said that the many challenges faced by employers as well as the possible solutions will be highlighted and discussed throughout the month, as the Federation recognizes and celebrates the contribution of employers towards national development.
Emphasis will also be placed on increasing productivity and efficiency within the workplace, which Mr. Chen argued, are critical to realizing the goals of Vision 2030. He said that productivity levels have fallen steadily in Jamaica over the last 30 years.
"We recognize that to realize our 2030 vision, of becoming a developed country, we have to develop a globally competitive workforce and this is an area where we employers and the JEF in particular, have a keen interest in working with other stakeholders to see that this becomes reality,” Mr. Chen stated.
Highlighting some of the planned activities for the month, the President noted that there will be courtesy calls on the Governor General, Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, members of the diplomatic corps and business associations; outreach activities and discussion fora.
A major highlight of the month will be a Chief Executive Officers Breakfast on September 12 at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel with guest speaker, Dr. Pierre Somse of the UNAIDS.
The month’s observance began with a church service at the St. Andrew Parish Church on September 2.
Mr. Chen saluted the contribution of employers to nation building. “We recognize that employers provide the jobs that keep the country going, allow individuals to fulfill their own ambitions to develop themselves, improve their own circumstances and provide for their families,” he stated.