Micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) are being positioned to make a more significant impact on the Jamaican economy, with a public consultation on policy suggestions for enhancing the sector.
The public consultation at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston on Thursday (October 29), saw business leaders, members of academia, civil society and government policymakers exchanging ideas.
Speaking on behalf of the Minster of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Reginald Budhan, who said that MSMEs have a “bright future” despite the current global recession.
He said that MSMEs currently account for approximately 80 per cent of the Jamaican workforce, and a policy framework to create a macroeconomic environment that will allow them to emerge, survive and grow was imperative.
In the message, Mr. Samuda also acknowledged that capital and training continue to be the main challenges faced by MSMEs. However, he said that the Government was implementing several initiatives to ensure their growth. Among these are the widening of the channels though which they can receive financing; development of their technical and organisational capacity; strengthening of industry organisations that represent them; training of entrepreneurs; and facilitating their entrance into the formal economy.
Senior Consulting Officer at the University of the West Indies, Dr. David Tennant (third from right) speaking with (left to right): First Vice President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Francis Kennedy; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan; Chair in Entrepreneurship and Development at the University of Technology, Dr. Rosalea Hamilton; Deputy President of Jamaica Trade and Invest, Lisa Bell; and President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Milton Samuda. This was ahead of a public forum, at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, on Thursday (October 29), to discuss the Policy Report for the Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Sector prepared by Dr. Tennant and his team.
Today’s discussions were based on Phase 2 of the Policy Report for the Jamaican MSME Sector, prepared by the Senior Consulting Officer, Dr. David Tennant. The report looks at extension and support services; marketing; legal, administrative and regulatory issues; networking and clustering; and technology research and development.
Dr. Tennant presented targeted policy initiatives, which stemmed from a general approach to address the major cross-cutting issues faced by the MSMEs.
The general policy approach includes increasing awareness through carefully designed public education campaigns; ensuring that the policy framework which currently exists functions effectively; and filling remaining gaps in the policy framework and institutional infrastructure.
The report also suggests incentivising and catalysing the usage of services provided without distorting the market and ensuring effective coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The report is the second phase of development of the Policy initiated by the Target Growth Competitiveness Committee (TGCC). The first phase posited suggestions to facilitate the provision of improved financing and enhanced human resource development and was completed in March 2008.
The TGCC is one of 12 components of the Government of Jamaica/ European Union-funded Private Sector Development Programme. The TGCC seeks to facilitate collaboration between the private sector, the Government and academia to improve the environment in which Jamaican MSMEs operate.