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The Ministry of Finance and Public Service hosted its inaugural Wealth Summit on Wednesday (August 18), with a strong line up of presenters from both the public and private sector. The quarterly summit was the first in a series and delivered a wealth of information to persons who watched the programme on the social media pages of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service and the Jamaica Information Service. It was held under the theme “Investing in Jamaicans, Making Every Cent Count” and saw close to five hundred Jamaicans registering for the summit.

The virtual event, which was hosted by Anna Smith, was packaged with engaging speakers sharing on various topics on matters related to wealth. Director of the Corporate Communication and Public Relations Branch at the Finance Ministry, Shelly-Ann Weeks, says the Wealth Summit was geared towards challenging misconceptions about wealth.

“We need to be more deliberate about how we manage our money and the Covid 19 pandemic has certainly taught us that.” she said.  She added that the Finance Ministry felt it was important to use the Wealth Summit to improve the financial literacy of Jamaicans “We have to recognise that financial literacy, as simple as it sounds, is not something that all Jamaicans are able to benefit from and part of that has to do with the different concepts in the financial world.” In addition, there are limited sources of information about financial literacy,

Ms. Weeks noted, “The summit is a vehicle to improve the knowledge bank of Jamaicans. This is not just for the banker; this is for everyone. If you are a parent planning for back to school, whoever you are, this summit is for you.”

First at the wicket to hit off the presentations was founder of Digital Jamaica, Kadia Francis. The technology entrepreneur spoke on the topic ‘Finding New Money’ and provided viewers with information on how the evolution of the internet has moved away from passive consumption of content to more active participation. She said this has allowed people to now monetise their skills by using online platforms.

Her well received presentation set the stage for the next speaker, Senior Marketing Officer at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, JSE, Michael B. Johnson, who presented on ‘Putting Your Money to Work’. Mr. Johnson delved into how Jamaicans can use financial instruments to achieve their financial goals. He also advised on how the Jamaica Stock Exchange was an asset that Jamaicans were encouraged to have in their investment portfolio.

Financial Advisor at LAWE Insurance Brokers, Melissa Golden then presented on ‘Getting the Best Bang for your Budget’. She cemented the importance of budgeting and gave tips on how to curtail expenses by reducing leaks from your salaries. Presentations then came from Branch Manager at the First Heritage Cooperative Credit Union (Spanish Town) Sheldon Christian. He spoke on ‘Bargains that Make a Difference’ and shared critical information about the bargains available to all Jamaicans at First Heritage Cooperative Credit Union.

Mr. Christian was followed by Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Communication and International Relations at the Financial Services Commission David Geddes, who shared on ‘Saving for a Rainy Day’. Mr. Geddes discussed how saving was an important part of a budget as it helps to develop financial resilience. He added that once an asset is acquired, it is crucial to insure it.

The four-hour event ended with a presentation from Chief Prudential Officer at the Bank of Jamaica, Jide Lewis, who spoke on Credit Management. He advised that Jamaicans must look at wealth in the context of asset and liabilities, noting that wealth is realised when one has more assets than liabilities.

Persons can visit the Ministry of Finance and Public Service as well at the Jamaica Information Service Facebook and YouTube pages, to watch all the presentations in full.

Viewers were encouraged to check the landing page of the Finance Ministry (jis.gov.jm/mofps-wealth-summit ) to get details on when the next summit will be held.

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