The Investment Ministry is moving ahead to implement the national five-year Global Digital Services Strategy, aimed at increasing the sector’s employment to 70,000 jobs by 2025.
Closing the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 15, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the figure is up from the current 40,000 jobs.
The Minister pointed out that the Strategy aims to facilitate further expansion of this industry.
Mr. Bartlett noted that several government interventions being employed to support this sector aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) industry.
These include the disbursement of 444 loans valued at approximately $4.5 billion to some 100 MSMEs through the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank).
“Furthermore, over 60 of EXIM’s clients were provided with the opportunity to save their businesses through loan restructuring and payment holidays to the tune of $973 million,” Mr. Bartlett informed.
As part of several initiatives to support the sector, he said the Government has earmarked $600 million to be transferred to the EXIM Bank to provide financing for productive MSMEs during the 2021/2022 financial year.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister noted that support was provided to the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector to allow for adjustments to business models, including the institution of work-from-home arrangements, in meeting social-distancing protocols.
“Despite early job losses, with the support provided, the sector rebounded with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) facilitating the expansion of five companies with the potential to add 3,000 new BPO jobs to the sector,” he said.
The Minister emphasised the importance of supporting the investment sector, which, he said, has a critical and strategic role in the growth and development of the country and has been hard hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.