Government Focused on Maintaining Comparative Advantages

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), greets Managing Director of the United States investment firm, Jefferies; and Head of the entity’s Fixed Income Wealth Management division, Gregory Fisher (2nd left), on arrival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, January 24, for the opening ceremony of the 12th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference. Others (from left) are: JSE Chairman, Ian McNaughton; and The Jamaica Pegasus General Manager, Peter Hilary.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government remains focused on implementing measures to further streamline the economy, in order to preserve Jamaica’s comparative advantages within the global marketplace.
  • Mr. Holness noted that there is a widely held view across the society “that the opportunities that we have...the natural advantages...will remain with us forever.”
  • However, the Prime Minister warned against complacency in this regard, arguing that Jamaica will not benefit from its strategic position to international shipping routes if entities desirous of establishing their operations locally “find that our tax system does not endear or support them. We would be literally throwing away that advantage.”

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government remains focused on implementing measures to further streamline the economy, in order to preserve Jamaica’s comparative advantages within the global marketplace.

He gave this assurance while addressing the opening ceremony for the 12th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on January 24.

Mr. Holness noted that there is a widely held view across the society “that the opportunities that we have…the natural advantages…will remain with us forever.”

“The perfect example of this is that we like to say that Jamaica is centrally located in the Caribbean, and therefore logistics and shipping (prospects) are very good for us. And we (also) like to say that Jamaica is an English-speaking country, and therefore business process outsourcing opportunities are perfect for us,” he said.

However, the Prime Minister warned against complacency in this regard, arguing that Jamaica will not benefit from its strategic position to international shipping routes if entities desirous of establishing their operations locally “find that our tax system does not endear or support them. We would be literally throwing away that advantage.”

Mr. Holness cited expressions of interest by Israel-based shipping firm, ZIM, in expanding its operations in Jamaica during discussions he had with the principals on his recent visit to that country.

The Prime Minister pointed to ZIM’s 45-year association with Jamaica, having commenced operations in 1972, emphasising that “they have stayed with us through thick and thin.”

“They want to put in a major logistics operation. But our tax system and customs systems just do not engender that kind of investment. This Government has to change that,” he said.
The three-day conference is being held from January 24 to 26 under the theme: ‘Global Investment Horizon: Our Options and Our Future’.

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