Samuda Urges Jamaican Diaspora to Invest Locally


Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has urged members of the Jamaica U.S.A Chamber of Commerce (JAUSACC) in Florida, to consider investing locally, primarily in the areas of telecommunications, manufacturing, agriculture, and agro-processing.
Speaking at the JAUSACC’s recent board meeting in Hollywood, Florida, the Minister said that while Government is starting programmes to offer low cost loans to micro-businesses across the island, opportunities were being provided for investment through partnering programmes, especially in the areas of research and technology, that can be applied to the domestic situation in Jamaica.
Jamaica, he said, is becoming a demand destination for telemarketing, and appealed to the Chamber’s members to be part of the opportunities for investment, not only altruistically but also for personal profit. According to the Minister, while providing personal benefits and advantages to investors, investment in the Jamaican economy would also create jobs.
Referring to the establishment of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME), he said, Government is supportive of the project, as it provides basic areas to stimulate business, namely access to capital, training in business techniques and marketing, and programmes to attract the interest of the small business owners in the local economy, while capitalising on talent and creativity.
Mr. Samuda said that with the recent meltdown in the U.S. financial sector, a positive approach had to be taken to create opportunities to stimulate the local economy.
He cited areas that would be negatively impacted including: cash flow, credit arrangements for business and financial sector; and exports and imports targeting the USA, adding that Jamaica’s trade import figures were in excess of those relating to export.
The Minister also alluded to the fact that remittances, as well as earnings from tourism could be affected. He added that the situation in the U.S. had caused a slight depreciation in the Jamaican currency that, could further threaten the cost of food items, consumer items, and labour settlements.
While Jamaica remains an attractive and strategic location for investment interests, the Minister urged nationals in the Diaspora to take advantage of the opportunities for investment.
Reminding his audience that every country must protect its domestic responsibilities, the Minister also called for consumer confidence and called for full participation of the people and private sector, in taking an interest in stimulating the Jamaican economy.
He also informed that the Government intends to reduce areas of bureaucracy to allow for more flexibility and accessibility in the system.
Meanwhile, in her first meeting with the JAUSACC Board of Directors, newly appointed Consul General, Sandra Griffiths, was welcomed as honorary Chair of JAUSACC.
Expressing appreciation to the members of the Chamber of Commerce, for maintaining interest in their homeland, the Consul General expressed her desire to work with them, especially as it relates to trade and investment in the Jamaican economy.
The President of the nearly 400-member organisation is Marie Gill, owner and President of M. Gill & Associates, a Miami-based consulting firm. Formed in March 2004, the JAUSACC is the brainchild of former Consul General, Ricardo Allicock.

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