Gov’t Targets Growth in Investments

Photo: Michael Sloley Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Story Highlights

  • Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Ministry will be leading expansion of the Government’s investor outreach thrust, through trade and investment agency - Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
  • This, the Minister argued, positions Jamaica at the pinnacle of investment discourse in the Caribbean based on its most recent rankings and outturns.
  • The third triennial Jamaica Investment Forum, which is organised by JAMPRO, will be held  from June 12 to 14 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre under the theme: ‘Connect for Business!’

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Ministry will be leading expansion of the Government’s investor outreach thrust, through trade and investment agency – Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

Noting that local and foreign investments remain central to the Administration’s economic development strategy for the country, Mr. Shaw said the overall goal is to create an environment that is more inviting for business, easy to navigate and offers the degree of flexibility necessary for developing and executing various sector-related investment projects.

He was speaking at Thursday’s (May 10) launch of the 2018 Jamaica Investment Forum, at J. Wray & Nephew Limited’s corporate office in New Kingston.

The Minister’s pronouncements come against the background of Jamaica recording increased foreign direct investments totalling US$900 million in 2016, which is the highest out-turn since 2008, according to the most recent World Investment Report.

This performance ranked the country in the top three among small island developing states globally.

Jamaica also ranks 70th out of 190 countries, according to the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business Report, the highest ranking in the Caribbean after Puerto Rico, and sixth place in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Additionally, the island improved eight spots on the Global Competitiveness Index to 70 of 138 countries in 2017/18, and is ranked the best to do business in the Caribbean according to the 2017 Forbes Best Countries for Business Report.

“Jamaica is fast becoming the regional poster child of fiscal and economic prudence, and coupled with the dynamic investment prospects, we are perfectly positioned for a strong period of growth and development. No shrewd investor should want to miss out on the action,” Mr. Shaw contended.

He noted that while the global marketplace may be getting smaller, the opportunities for productive investment and business development continue to grow.

This, the Minister argued, positions Jamaica at the pinnacle of investment discourse in the Caribbean based on its most recent rankings and out-turns.

He said that one of his missions is to identify the low-hanging fruit on a systematic basis “in order to really improve the ease of doing business in Jamaica… and believe me, there are lots of low hanging fruits that I will be dealing with in the coming weeks and months”.

Mr. Shaw said this engagement has already commenced as he recently met with members of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to discuss issues that need to be dealt with, including access to finance.

Additionally, the Minister said he met with the Trade Facilitation Group, which he noted is looking at removing the obstacles and inhibitors to imports “and critically, exports”.

Mr. Shaw pointed out that JAMPRO, which houses the National Competitiveness Council’s Secretariat, along with implementing agencies across government, is doing significant work to change Jamaica’s business environment.

He noted that the Jamaica Investment Forum represents a “critical tool” for showcasing business opportunities in key sectors “as we build on the progress we have made in attracting world-class investments to our highly diversified economy”.

“Jamaica is, once again, ready to showcase the efficacy of key growth sectors, such as our world-renowned tourism product, agri-business, manufacturing, energy, mining, logistics and business process outsourcing, all complemented by geographic, human resource and economic advantages,” he added.

Mr. Shaw said it is imperative that the Government continue to demonstrate its commitment to improving Jamaica’s business environment.

“This is our responsibility and we pledge to continue doing it. We will continue to develop efficient and transparent regulations and embark on competitiveness strategies that include industry-specific and firm-level innovation efforts (because) we are poised for take-off in this country,” he said.

The third triennial Jamaica Investment Forum, which is organised by JAMPRO, will be held  from June 12 to 14 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre under the theme ‘Connect for Business!’.

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