JIS News

Newly appointed Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Wesley Hughes, has charged players in Jamaica’s music industry, to mobilise themselves into groups, which are able to formally lobby for their interests.
Dr. Hughes was speaking on September 15, at a meeting of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA), held at the Jamaica Trade and Invest, in Kingston. The Financial Secretary was making his first speech, since being appointed to the post on September 1.
He noted that Jamaicans inherently love to be independent and, therefore, there is usually a difficulty in establishing co-operatives. However, Dr. Hughes explained that interdependence and co-operation could help some sectors to thrive more.
“I am urging that people in the cultural industry, entertainment industry in general, and sports should co-operate more, lobby more for broad incentives to structure a development path, so we can reap the benefit from our creativity,” he encouraged.
Dr. Hughes pointed out that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Sector receives many applications from large interest groups, such as manufacturers and car importers for waivers and incentives, but receives very few requests on behalf of the players in the creative industries.
He congratulated JARIA for its efforts in trying to unite the music industry, and urged the Association to continue its work to ensure that Jamaica cashes in on its creative output.
“As far as Jamaica’s long-term development is concerned, our future rests on our ability to be creative, to use our creative genius to transform our society through music, sports, and culture in general,” he said.
However, Dr. Hughes pointed out that there is currently a difficulty in measuring how much music and other such industries contribute to gross domestic product (GDP), because many of these activities are carried out informally. He said the Government is now moving to find ways to encourage more persons to formalise their operations.
“We need to give people the incentive to be formalised,” he argued, “so when you become formal, you don’t end up being penalised and punished with a huge tax and people coming to break down your door, just because you came and tried to be formal.”
He also said that in the same way that there are incentives for entering certain industries like the financial sector, there needed to be incentives for entering creative industries. However, Dr. Hughes cautioned that even in providing incentives, mechanisms needed to be put in place to ensure these incentives do not create imbalance.

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