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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has been guiding various initiatives geared at transforming the business environment and getting Jamaica to the top ten in the Doing Business Report (DBR) by 2020.
  • The transformation will allow persons to transact all their business online with the Government as a result of the improvements; pay taxes and start a business online; apply for all their business approvals; and apply for and track their applications for building permits through the Application Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) system.

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has been guiding various initiatives geared at transforming the business environment and getting Jamaica to the top ten in the Doing Business Report (DBR) by 2020.

The transformation will allow persons to transact all their business online with the Government as a result of the improvements; pay taxes and start a business online; apply for all their business approvals; and apply for and track their applications for building permits through the Application Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) system.

AMANDA aims to improve the ease of doing business with Municipal Corporations and key Government agencies.

In an interview with JIS News, Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Project Implementation at JAMPRO, Shullette Cox, says the Agency, through the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), has been facilitating the implementation of various business reforms to improve the local business environment and get Jamaica on its way to the top ten mark.

“The World Bank noted that in 2003, it took, on average, globally, 52 days to start a business…today it takes 20 days, on average, across the globe, and it means that every country is looking at their business environment and there are reforms happening everywhere. So, one of the initiatives that JAMPRO has embarked on is called ‘Getting to Top Ten by 2020’, focusing on a list of reforms aimed at getting Jamaica into the Doing Business Report top ten by 2020,” Ms. Cox explains.

She notes that Jamaica ranked 70th in the 2018 report, which was published last October. “So, getting to the top ten would require us to implement certain reforms by March 2020 and by October 2020 when the Doing Business Report for 2021 is published. We are hoping to see Jamaica in that top ten mark,” she said.

To achieve this goal, she adds that JAMPRO has entered into a partnership with the World Bank to develop a Reform Memorandum which is a list of reforms that the country can embark on to realise its goal in 2020.

“We received this Reform Memorandum a few weeks ago and some of the meetings held at the Jamaica Investment Forum in June were had about the memorandum and the participation of our implementing agency partners, and we have started the discussion around how do we get everyone to agree that this is the path and that these are the reforms that we are doing,” Ms. Cox tells JIS News.

She says that over the last decade, some 24 reforms have been implemented putting Jamaica in the highly ranked among the region in terms of reforms implemented.

Currently, Jamaica ranks 5th in starting a business globally, which she deems as a significant accomplishment for a small island developing state.

The NCC, housed at JAMPRO, is tasked to advance policy advocacy, research and provide public awareness of reform initiatives that facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for business in Jamaica.

The Council manages and monitors the reforms being implemented by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Ms. Cox says the Council works at identifying challenges being faced by private sector entities in their transactions with the Government.

“So, we talk to our stakeholders to understand the challenges, then identify business reforms that can be implemented by the Government to make things easier and more seamless for the average business person,” she notes.

“Once we have identified those reforms, we go about engaging the relevant Agencies and do everything we can to drive the implementation of those reforms,” Ms. Cox adds.

Some key reforms that have been implemented through this collaboration include the mandatory system of e-filing for all major taxes; support to the drafting of the Insolvency Act; development and implementation of the Security Interest in Personal Property (SIPP) Act and the National Collateral Registry; and implementation of the Business Registration Super-form.

The NCC points out that upcoming reforms and initiatives, such as an electronic land titling system, Customs reforms and tax collection will improve Jamaica’s performance on global ease of doing business rankings, and will help the country to be more appealing to investors.

“The easier it is to start a business, the easier it is to pay taxes, the more people will want to be a part of the formal economy, resulting in greater transparency,” the Vice President reasons.

Importantly as well, she adds that “when it is easier to do business on the ground, it means that we see more productive activities and this means more businesses grow, people get employed, and there is economic growth throughout the country.”