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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, says there is a need for more small businesses in Jamaica to produce goods and services for the export market.
“We have never had the sense of urgency to develop businesses in a competitive way. We have seen the need to export in order to survive and, it is against that background, that we have seen a sense of lethargy that has seeped into the very psyche of the young entrepreneur,” Mr. Samuda said.
He accused small businesses of taking “a kind of subsistence approach”, focussing on distribution and retail to make a living, without looking at how critical it is to engage in productive activities that earn foreign exchange.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of the book ‘Understanding Exporting in the Small and Micro Enterprise’, written by Dr. Densil Williams, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona on Tuesday (October 20).
Mr. Samuda said that Jamaica has not earned enough foreign exchange to afford what it has to purchase, which is over 70 percent of all that it consumes, which requires foreign exchange. However, he noted that there was need to introduce appropriate training, technology and business habits for the small business sector to enable them to be better prepared for the export market.
“The day has come, when we now realise that those areas that we have always depended on are no longer there. The fact is we have not spent enough time appreciating the importance of indigenous raw materials with which to make the things that can earn foreign exchange,” he said.
“We must look towards the larger world marketplace, where our goods and services can take their rightful place. We can do it, as long as the technology is there to help us. We can be as competitive as any country in the world, barring those that are engaged in very large manufacturing, where they have certain built in advantages,” he suggested.

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