Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, has expressed support for a one year tax break for micro enterprise start-ups, in addition to the recently announced one year rent-free incentive.
He was welcoming the inauguration of the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA), as he launched the regional body on Thursday January 27, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
According to Mr. Samuda, the proposed one year tax-break would provide micro enterprises, in particular those operating informally, “with the breathing space to become formalized and become fully tax-compliant in year two of their operation”.
Formalization of enterprises, he noted, also provides them access to affordable credit, incentives offered by state support agencies such as the Jamaica Business Development Centre, as well as business development training. These interventions, he emphasized, would enable the businesses to produce competitively for the domestic and export markets.
The Minister noted that studies of the sector have revealed that, as many as 80 percent of micro-enterprise start-ups with no business training fail during the first year of operation. He charged the newly established regional micro-finance body, to include business training in its portfolio.
He also encouraged the organization to increase its efforts to “do more to give the poor and the inner-city business people the opportunity to give expression to their talent, resourcefulness, resilience and creativity”.
The CMFA is a network of micro-finance organizations and practitioners, seeking to increase the visibility of micro-finance in the region. The regional body was established to be the catalyst in the development of the “regional micro-finance industry”, by working with micro-finance practitioners, country-level networks, private sector operators, policy makers and donors to create linkages and develop financial systems and innovative practices that work for micro-finance institutions and their clients.
So far its membership has been drawn from Jamaica, Belize, Surinam, St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Guyana, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has committed support for its programmes going forward.
CONTACT: Allan Brooks