JIS News

Government is moving to open offices for its investment promotion agency, Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), in strategic locations around the world, while re-opening others which have been out of operation.
While not indicating when this undertaking will commence, Industry, Commerce and Investment Minister, Karl Samuda said this was necessary if significant investments are to be attracted to the country.
Speaking at the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica’s (PSOJ) job creation awards, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (January 22), Mr. Samuda said Jamaica’s ability to create jobs, and a vibrant economy is contingent on JTI’s success.
“What we (government) have recognized is that, if you are going after good can’t stay in Kingston, in a board room, and try to attract investments to Jamaica,” Mr. Samuda argued.
“We will be opening the office in Brussels (Belgium); we already have an office in London established and operating, and we will be opening an office in New York and Trinidad and Tobago,” he added.
Mr. Samuda pointed out that over the past few weeks, he held discussions with Canadian-based Jamaican businessman, Ray Chang, who has consented to be Jamaica’s Trade Consul in Canada and would operate out of Toronto.
On the matter of business development, the Minister said there are plans to relocate the operations of the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) from its current location on Camp Road to facilities at the Garmex Freezone.
He explained that in the Ministry’s pursuit to facilitate the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, it was recognized that the existing facilities of the JBDC, one of the key stakeholders, “were not doing justice to the small (and) micro business sector.”
“It was too limited in scope, it was too congested, and it did not represent in the professional way that I think was important for that sector to be represented,” Mr. Samuda said.
To this end, he said Ministry representatives examined the Garmex Freezone facilities where some 20,000 sq. ft. of space had initially been refurbished to facilitate activities in information technology (IT), but which were not utilized.
“I recognized that this would be a great opportunity to transfer the operations of JBDC down there, and I am happy to tell you that they have struck a deal with (the) Factories Corporation, which owns it. They (JBDC) have been able to get a good arrangement, and they will be moving in there almost immediately to display the kind of approach that we want to adopt with respect to (the) development of the small business sector of the country,” Mr. Samuda said.
The Minister also revealed plans to establish what he described as “one-stop facilities” islandwide, which would enable small entrepreneurs to secure information on starting, funding, and managing a business, as well as recommendations on the types of businesses that would be “appropriate for their particular situation.”
“That facility is going to relieve them of the onerous task of having to travel for miles to Kingston to get information about starting a business somewhere in deep rural Jamaica,” Mr. Samuda said, adding that the Ministry is far advanced in establishing one such entity in Montego Bay.

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