JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has warned that the reduction in stamp duty on specific food items was for the benefit of consumers and that the government will be vigilant in ensuring that consumers receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
Mr. Patterson said the reduction in stamp duty on some imported food items was in recognition of the need to ensure that food supplies are available in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of households and the tourism sector following the passage of hurricane Ivan.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) Business Forum held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 29) under the theme ‘Life After Hurricane Ivan’.
“These reductions are for the benefit of the consumers not for the merchants and we are going to be vigilant in ensuring that the consumers benefit,” Mr. Patterson stated.
Mr. Patterson said a short-term incentive programme has also been put in place to assist the tourism sector, particularly hotels in Negril and the South Coast which suffered significant damage during the hurricane.
In the meantime, Mr. Patterson has highlighted the need for businesses to have a comprehensive disaster plan as the restoration of commercial and productive activity was critical to the overall national recovery and reconstruction following a disaster.
“The success of our recovery is critically linked not only to the restoration of our households, but to the thoroughness of preparation by firms to meet disaster conditions and the pace at which the services that are critical to their operations can be restored,” Mr. Patterson said.
He said that apart from factors that are outside the control of firms and businesses, their recovery from natural disasters was dependent on orderly closure, preparations for protecting assets during the emergency and plans for timely reopening. He said the Jamaica Employers Federation has an active role to play in the reconstruction efforts now underway, adding that the business forum represented a valuable step in providing important advice to small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected.
Other speakers at the one-day forum included Mrs. Audrey Hinchcliffe, President of the JEF, Mrs. Beverley Lopez, President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and Mr. Danville Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of National Reconstruction. Included among the topics for discussion was a presentation entitled ‘Business Interruption Risk Assessment’ presented by Mrs. Suzanne Wynter-Burke, Risk Manager at the National Housing Trust.

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