KINGSTON — A unit is to be established within the offices of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which will focus exclusively on the critical variables pertaining to Jamaica in the Global Competitiveness Report and the Doing Business Report.
Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the move is an attempt to “improve on those variables because we think it will add to lessening the bureaucracy” and attracting more local and foreign investment.
“We cannot ignore the perceptions that others have of us because it is going to impact our investment climate and how people view us as an attractive destination,” the Minister stated this morning (November 22) as he addressed the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica Chairman’s Club Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
According to Dr. Tufton, Jamaica ranked “very poorly” in the latest Doing Business Report in terms of tax payments, with six different categories of taxes paid each month, which amounts to 72 payments per year. “It doesn’t matter that we can write one cheque to pay those various taxes; they view each category as an individual category,” he pointed out.
He said that while the report noted improvements in about half of the variables considered, especially those that are critical to attracting investments, it suggest that there was still much work to be done.
In terms of the Global Competitiveness Report, Dr. Tufton commented that the country was not “doing too badly on a number of fronts.” The 2011/12 reportrankedJamaica 107 out of 142 countries, coming from 95 of 139 countries in the previous report.
“Yes we have fallen; the drop does not necessarily mean that we are doing worse this year than last, what it means is, other countries may be doing better so their rate of improvement is increasing at a faster pace than ours. We have work to do,” the Industry Minister said.
Commenting on the ranking of 30 out of 142 countries, for the quality of the country’s port infrastructure, Dr. Tufton said “it offers some hope on which we can build. I am here to say to us today that there are a number of areas that can create platforms for risk taking and entrepreneurial activities, a platform on which to build.”
The Global Competitiveness Report is a yearly review published by the World Economic Forum, which looks at the business operating environment and competitiveness of more than 140 economies worldwide.
The Doing Business Report, produced by the World Bank, provides data on the ease of doing business across economies, ranks each location, and recommends reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter