Samuda Highlights Contribution of Diaspora Members


Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda has said that members of the Diaspora have played a very significant role in the development of the economy, and pointed out that for the year 2007, Jamaicans living overseas contributed US$1.8 billion to the economy.
“What does US$1.8 billion coming into our economy mean? It is in fact US$300 million per annum more than the contribution of the tourism sector in terms of foreign exchange inflows. It is US$400 million more than our traditional exports, which include bauxite and alumina, bananas and sugar,” Mr. Samuda said.
The Minister was speaking at the Third Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on June 17.
Meanwhile, Mr. Samuda informed that the Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) has put together packages that would allow Jamaicans overseas who wish to invest in the country, to do so much easier.
“The new thrust of JTI is to put packages together; packages of opportunity, that is how I would like to phrase it. Concrete packages that you can understand precisely at what level you can become involved in terms of an investment opportunity,” the Minister told members of the diaspora.
Mr. Samuda explained that in putting these packages together, it would become necessary to compile a data bank of the Diaspora throughout the world, so that the Government could know the skill levels and talents of persons.
“We would certainly have an idea of how to go in search of Jamaicans who are highly qualified to come back to help us to build the economy,” the Minister said.
He also pointed out that the government, through the JTI, was opening offices in different parts of the world to interact with overseas Jamaicans.
“We in that particular agency deal with encouraging investments to the country, and strengthening the existing ones. We opened offices in London recently, which will handle all of Europe, and they have already commenced the process of interacting with the Diaspora in that part of the world,” the Minister said.
He noted that the government has appointed an Honorary Trade Commissioner in Toronto, “and we will be opening up office there fairly soon, and we want to have a permanent office opened shortly in New York.”
Mr. Samuda also reiterated that government would be seeking to reduce the red tape as it relates to the turn-around time for imports and exports, adding that the time that it took to achieve these tasks was unacceptable at present, as the lengthy delays resulted in loss of valuable time and money.

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