Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has offered to meet with stakeholders in the Micro, Small and Medium sized Enterprise (MSME) sector, to discuss how they can contribute to the global logistics hub initiative, as well as the mutual benefits to be derived from it.
Speaking at an MSME Alliance public forum on the topic: ‘MSMEs Waiting to Exhale’, at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) auditorium, New Kingston, on April 11, Mr. Hylton said the discussion on the initiative “is an important one that he is prepared to support.”
This position, he said, comes against the background of the pivotal role which the group is deemed to have in the undertaking, and the mutual benefits that can, and will redound to them and Jamaica. Recognition of this importance, he pointed out, is evidenced in the establishment of an MSME Working Group within the Logistics Hub Task Force.
Mr. Hylton said the Ministry has been at the forefront of the effort to promote the initiative as “one of those big ideas” that can transform Jamaica.
“I think it has the opportunity for a tectonic shift in Jamaica’s economy and society. So, it’s about how we identify the critical voices and the critical thinkers who can make a positive contribution in that area (MSME sector),” he added.
Mr. Hylton emphasized that the discourse between the Ministry and MSME stakeholders must be a dialogue on inputs from both sides.
“It cannot simply be about what government will bring to the MSME. It’s about how the MSMEs may think about its contribution to it (initiative). So, I want you to start thinking about that,” he told the audience.
Development of the initiative, expected to cost upwards of US$8 billion, is being spearheaded by the government in an effort to position Jamaica to tap into the anticipated increased maritime activity, consequent on the expansion of the Panama Canal, slated for completion in 2015.
The hub’s establishment would make it the fourth such facility globally, along with those in Singapore; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Jamaica is deemed ideally positioned for this undertaking, based on the country’s location, midway between North and South America, and in relatively close proximity to the Panama Canal.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter