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LONDON – Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda says Jamaica is one of the most attractive places to invest and conduct business.

Speaking yesterday March 17, at the opening of  the third annual Jamaica/United Kingdom (UK)  Investment Forum in London, the Minister said the   Government has devised a model to encourage business, which had at its core, transparency,  anti-corruption and the adoption of a sound fiscal and monetary policy, devoid of political expediency.

This model, he said, included collaboration between the public and private sectors, a commitment to an open market approach, a commitment “to literally suck the oxygen out of unnecessary bureaucracy”; protection of the environment; support for greater access to capital; the privatisation of government owned assets; as well as a commitment to a relentless fight against crime and violence.

Mr. Samuda said the wheels are beginning to turn in the manufacturing sector and Jamaica had moved up by 20 places on the Human Development Index.

He told the meeting that the confidence displayed in 2008 at the first investment forum has continued. This confidence, he said, had been strengthened by the positive results that have emerged from the strategies undertaken by the Government to bring about economic stability and growth.

“Our confidence in the future of Jamaica as an attractive and sustainable investment destination is as resolute now as it was then. Our optimism then continues to be strengthened by the positive results that continue to emerge from the bold initiatives undertaken by the Government to bring about a sense of economic stability,” Mr. Samuda said.

“We have seen results. In 2008 inflation was running in the region of 16.8 per cent; in 2010 it was 11.7, a 30 per cent drop; and this year it will be under 10 per cent.  The exchange rate has stabilised and we have brought the exchange rate under control. The Net international Reserves (NIR), which in 2009 stood at US$1.6 billion, is now  at US$2.4 billion,” the Minister added, noting that much of this success had to do with the partnership which the Government had forged with the private sector.

This forum was also addressed by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett and the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton. The forum focussed on the Government’s priority areas, including Tourism, Agriculture and Agro-processing, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the International Financial Services sector and the Creative Industries.

Presenters at sessions included  General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation, Joy Douglas; General Manager of  (Direct Client Relations ) at the Development Bank of Jamaica, Denise Arana; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Public Service Company, Damian Obiglio; Vice President of Investment at JAMPRO, Claude Duncan; President of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett Templer; Managing Director of Jamaica National, Earl Jarrett; Chairman of the Agricultural Investment Corporation, David Lowe; Peter De Bruyne of Blue Mount Coffee, UK; and Group Managing Director of Jamaica Producers Group, Jeffery Hall.

 

By Vivienne Siva