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Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Finance and Planning Ministry, Hon. Horace Dalley, says the Government is firmly committed to growing the economy by improving trade facilitation.
  • He was speaking at a Trade Facilitation Task Force meeting on Friday (Sept. 4) at the Air Jamaica Building in Kingston.
  • Mr. Dalley said the goal is to facilitate ease of doing business, while enabling the country to meet its international obligations.

Minister without Portfolio in the Finance and Planning Ministry, Hon. Horace Dalley, says the Government is firmly committed to growing the economy by improving trade facilitation.

“We intend to take all measures, we intend to review all processes, and we intend to look at the operations of every single agency that is involved in the facilitation of trade. Whatever we do in terms of public sector transformation, public sector training and improvement, it’s for one reason only: it’s to improve the business environment in Jamaica and to help to stimulate the growth agenda,” he said.

He was speaking at a Trade Facilitation Task Force meeting on Friday (Sept. 4) at the Air Jamaica Building in Kingston.

Mr. Dalley said the goal is to facilitate ease of doing business, while enabling the country to meet its international obligations.

“We have talked about trade facilitation; we have talked about the improvement in doing business in Jamaica; we have talked about growth. For our Jamaican people to have more jobs and for us to be more prosperous, we must do the things necessary to accomplish those things,” he said.

The Trade Facilitation Task Force was established by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce under the National Competitiveness Council.

 

Development of legislation, particularly as it relates to the Customs Act, to address the high levels of documentary and physical inspections at the nation’s ports came as a result of recommendations out of the task force.

The body, along with a joint mission from the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank, met with representatives of the public and private sectors over the past few weeks to determine how trade facilitation measures and procedures in Jamaica can be improved.

Issues impeding trade facilitation that were identified include: relatively higher costs of doing business than regional partners and competitors, due to over regulation of the trade environment,  multiplicity of fees and charges, as well as lack of adequate communication among government agencies.

A framework document is to be developed, as well as a joint Ministry of Finance and Planning/Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Cabinet submission on the way forward, which will feed into the formulation of a project document.

Chairperson of the Trade Facilitation Task Force, Patricia Francis, explained to JIS News that the improvements being undertaken are important in preparing Jamaica to become a world-class logistics hub.

She noted that in carrying out its work, the task force met with the ministries and agencies and looked into their processes to say “why are you doing this; do you think you can do it any better; do you think that it is achieving anything; and based on that, we came up with these findings, where (we see that) there are many processes, which are redundant and many processes, which could be done smarter.”

 

Mrs. Francis informed that also on the agenda are risk management and capacity building sessions for ministries and agencies, to bring about a change in the mindset of staff members, and to help persons understand how to carry out processes more efficiently.

Improving the business environment is part of a reformation process to allow the country to fully meet its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

Also at the meeting were Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams; and State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown.