State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, has underscored the importance of developing Jamaica’s capacity to produce more goods and services for export.
This, she argues, is necessary in order to transform the economy into one which is competitively positioned globally, thereby generating significantly higher foreign exchange earnings.
Speaking at a recent University of Technology (UTech) public forum at the institution’s Papine Campus, St. Andrew, Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams said the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report for 2011 indicates that approximately 64 per cent of Jamaica’s entrepreneurs did not have clients outside of the country. She said this “has to change.”
“We are going to have to export more and deal with…customers (outside of the country) in order to bring foreign exchange into Jamaica. All of this will necessitate strengthening our bi-lateral, regional and international economic and trade relations,” she said.
The State Minister noted that this will simultaneously promote local and foreign investments and improve entrepreneurs’ ability of to take full advantage of favourable and enabling internal and external environments.
She assured that the administration is committed to “actively pursuing” policies that will “shape and improve” the business environment, as ell as establish a modern legislative framework that underpins innovation.
“We strongly support innovations in modern technology that are geared towards reducing the cost of doing business and broadening overall participation in our economy (and) the ease of doing business. We are committed to working closely with all stakeholders in our efforts to improve the business environment, create more jobs and, in general, make our country more competitive (globally),” she assured.
The State Minister cited development of the proposed global transshipment and logistics hub as a “comprehensive opportunity” for business interests, especially micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) stakeholders, to be integrated into the global supply chain.
“This will facilitate the growth and development of new and diversified industries that will move the country further up the global supply chain,” she argued.
Development of the hub is being spearheaded by the government in an effort to position Jamaica to take advantage of the increased maritime activities, anticipated from the expansion of the Panama Canal, slated for completion in 2015.
“The changes expected to come from this new economic model will be far-reaching and will create a major shift in the country’s economic base as well as move Jamaica into the globally integrated services and knowledge economy. That’s a great opportunity for new businesses to develop and grow in Jamaica,” Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams staTED.
The forum, held under the theme: ‘Beyond the IMF: Creating an Efficient and Innovative Economy’, was organied by the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), UTech in collaboration with university’s Office of Development and Community Service.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter