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Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says critical focus will be placed on the services sector as the government continues its thrust towards economic development.

Among the areas for attention are health, information communication technology (ICT) medical tourism, and financial services.

Mr. Hylton was addressing business leaders, international experts and academia during the Mona School of Business Roundtable 2012 held on June 28 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, St. Andrew.

He argued that a well functioning services sector is critical to the overall performance of the Jamaican economy and the development of its people, noting that an examination of the country’s trade statistics show that services contribute more than 70 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He informed that the government has formulated a strategy that will allow the Bureau of Standards to play a critical role in developing the country’s services sector.

“The organisation has therefore realigned the strategic focus and diversified its portfolio of standardisation work to incorporate the services sector with emphasis on health, ICT, medical tourism and the financial services,” he informed, while noting that their plan for this financial year is to adopt some 50 standards in these areas.

Meanwhile, the Industry Minister noted that the government, as part of its long-term growth strategy, is looking to integrate more deeply into the global economy.

One practical expression of this strategy comes through the development of a comprehensive global transshipment and logistic hub, which will position Jamaica at the centre of the Americas. He informed that the project represents an investment opportunity of some $7 to $8 billion, beginning almost immediately, and continuing for the next five to seven years.

This, he said, will allow Jamaica to elevate its role in the global supply chain by facilitating the movement of cargo throughout the hemisphere and serving as a strategic gateway for cargo destined to North, South, and Central American markets as well as to Europe.

The MSB Roundtable 2012, organised by the University of the West Indies, Mona in collaboration with Sandals Resorts International, is an exclusive forum for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and executives.

The event, held under the theme: ‘Organizational Growth: Securing the Present and the Future’, aimed to satisfy the urgent need of leaders in the Caribbean to have better information for making decisions about organisational growth.

Its objectives include: identifying opportunities, strategies, networks and resources to strengthen and grow organisations in the Caribbean; developing a repository of knowledge and remedies pertaining to the challenging topic of organisational growth; and the establishment of a workable roadmap for organisational growth based on the deliberations at the event.

Speakers at the event also included: CEO, Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart; Opposition Spokesman on Industry and Commerce, Gregory Mair; and Associate Professor, Economics, Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Rupert Rhodd.

 

By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter