Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has reiterated plans for the establishment of a Micro Stock Exchange, which will enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to obtain funds to support their growth and expansion.
The exchange will target companies for capitalisation of between $5 million and $50 million.
“It is an idea, I believe, whose time has come. We know that over 40 per cent of our economy is said to be informal, so if we want to make more of our economy formal, then the (Micro) Stock Exchange, certainly, is one of the routes to that,” Minister Shaw said.
“We have to say to them ‘if you’re transparent and open with your books, then we’ll put you in the stock exchange. You don’t have to pay taxes for a while until you become mature as a business, and you also get money cheaper without having to pay very high interest rates at the bank,” he added.
Minister Shaw was speaking at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) inaugural ‘Market meets the Market by the Sea’ event at the Waterfront in downtown Kingston on Thursday (February 7).
The event was held with the objective of bringing together small farmers and vendors with stockbrokers, listed companies, members of the JSE and other stakeholders from the financial industry.
Minister Shaw commended the JSE for staging the event and linking the farmers with buyers and those interested in stocks.
“This is such an innovative idea. We need more innovation like this. We need more creative ideas that can show, ultimately, the linkages in the economy, that show how the stock exchange has an umbilical connection to what we grow in the ground in Jamaica,” he said.
“When we set up that Micro Stock Exchange, that will be yet another opportunity to strengthen the linkages in the economy starting from what we grow,” he added.
Managing Director, JSE, Marlene Street Forrest, said that her organisation will be looking into making the event an annual one.
“This is an initiative we wish will blossom and grow. It focuses on financial inclusion, financial literacy and more than anything, a place where we can meet, greet, eat, we can buy and sell and, ultimately, where we can have an appreciation of each person’s role in wealth creation, aimed at improving this country we love so much,” she said.