Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has proposed the implementation of a “one stop shop” facility, to reduce the time it takes to establish businesses in Jamaica.
He was speaking on May 28, at a Roundtable Discussion on the 2009 Doing Business Report held at the Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) on Trafalgar Road in Kingston.
Mr. Samuda said the country’s ranking could be greatly improved if it moved towards automation of more of the processes involved in conducting business. “One main focus that we have to have is the question of establishing a virtual one stop shop. If there is anything that is a priority, that is a priority,” he emphasised.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), and President of Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), Robert Gregory, exchange ideas ahead of a Roundtable on the findings of the 2009 Doing Business Report, at the JTI, on Trafalgar Road in Kingston on May 28. For 2009, Jamaica is ranked 63 of 181 countries for the ease of doing business, in the survey conducted by the World Bank.
Such a facility would allow business owners to go through many of the processes involved in establishing a business in Jamaica using the Internet. However, Mr. Samuda said doing this would require the linking of all the offices with which businesses have to interface, such as the Companies Office of Jamaica, the National Land Agency and the Tax Administration.
The latest report, which was done by the World Bank, ranks Jamaica at 63 out of 181 countries with regard to the ease of doing business, dropping by one place. The report provides quantitative measures of a set of regulations affecting 10 key stages of a business cycle.
Mr. Samuda pointed out that Jamaica placed ninth among the 32 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Kellie-Ann Murray of the Target Growth Competitiveness Committee (TGCC), which organised the function, said the improvement in the number of days resulted from the introduction of the “90-day turnaround principle” by the Government, in November 2007.
Jamaica is also still one of the easiest places in the world to start a business and to close a business, the country being ranked 11 and 22, respectively, on these components.
Last year, the country made significant improvement as it relates to the granting of construction permits, improving by 25 places in this area, moving up from 74 to 49, out of 181 countries.
According to the report, while the number of steps remained unchanged at 10, the cost to procure permits improved and the number of days required for the process to be completed was drastically reduced from 236 days to 156 days.
Ms. Murray is also predicting that Jamaica’s ranking with regards to the ease by which companies can get credit will improve with the passing of the Credit Registry Bill, now before Parliament.
“We don’t have a Credit Registry at the moment, which the Report deems as critical with respect to promoting loans and development of the business sector,” she explained.
Credit registries and a credit information index have been known to greatly increase access to credit, as they provide information to lenders that help with risk assessment and a more efficient allocation of credit.
The TGCC is one of the 12 components of the European Union/Government of Jamaica funded Private Sector Development Programme. The TGCC is mandated to increase public awareness, lobby for appropriate policies and conduct research, with a view to improving growth areas in the Jamaican economy.