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  • Director, Taxation Policy Division, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ian Scarlett, is urging young Jamaicans to use the training they have received at various academic institutions and create employment opportunities for themselves.
  • Mr. Scarlett was speaking to business students at a lecture hosted by the School of Business Administration at the University of Technology (UTech) campus in Kingston, on September 11.
  • He reminded the students that some of the richest persons in the world did not acquire tertiary education, but capitalised on ideas which have resulted in their success.

Director, Taxation Policy Division, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ian Scarlett, is urging young Jamaicans to use the training they have received at various academic institutions and create employment opportunities for themselves.

“The days of going to school, graduating from university and getting a job or having someone employ you, those days are numbered. It now means that you have (to capitalise on ideas to become successful)… all it requires is an idea and once that idea is germinated, it can be transformed into a viable small business that will provide not only economic growth for the country, but for yourself,” he said.

Mr. Scarlett was speaking to business students at a lecture hosted by the School of Business Administration at the University of Technology (UTech) campus in Kingston, on September 11.

He reminded the students that some of the richest persons in the world did not acquire tertiary education, but capitalised on ideas which have resulted in their success.

The Director emphasised that this is crucial as they will become frustrated after graduation, especially when they cannot get a job. “You now need to look at what is that idea that I can develop, that I can transform to a company,” he said.

Mr. Scarlett pointed out that the pool of qualified workers has widened over the years, as many more people are able to acquire academic qualifications.

“You are competing with students from other universities in the island as well as in the region and therefore you have to change your mindset and find creative ways to make your learning, experience and niche begin to work for you,” he advised.

The Director urged the students to familiarise themselves with the  Micro, Small and Medium-sized  Enterprise (MSME)  Entrepreneurship Policy Document that was developed by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, adding that it addresses several issues relating to businesses.

The goals of the MSME Policy are aligned to those of the National Development Plan (Vision 2030), which sets out the strategic framework for improving the business environment and ensuring an efficient bureaucracy, adequate access to capital, supportive trade relations, a well functioning labour market and improved opportunities for MSMEs.

Mr. Scarlett said that while the Government is implementing several measures to provide employment, Jamaicans should take a proactive approach as well, which will assist in the country’s growth strategy.

“The Government is of the view that jobs can be created by one of two ways. Jobs can be created by the development of the micro, small and medium enterprise sector or by mega projects,” he pointed out.

The Director noted that under the Income Tax Relief (Large Scale Projects and Pioneering Industries) Act, the incentives for a large scale project are very attractive.

“(It provides) liberal tax incentives, but (requires) that any investor coming to Jamaica with a view to bring in a large scale project, would have to be employing anywhere between 1,200 and 1,500 persons who are certified. So, it is no longer low level persons the government is seeking to get attracted by this arrangement, and the investment would have to be in the region of US$300 million or US$500 million,” he said.

Mr. Scarlett informed that currently, there are some private business partners overseas that have keen interest in coming to Jamaica and taking advantage of some of the tax incentives that are available for large scale projects.

He explained that the creation of the special economic zones across the island will also create employment opportunities for Jamaicans.

At least 16 locations are to be designated special economic zones under the Government’s logistics hub initiative. These include the Kingston Container Terminal, Norman Manley International Airport, Vernamfield in Clarendon and the Goat Islands project.

Mr. Scarlett’s presentation was centred around the Government’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP). Under the ERP, the Government has set a firm commitment to reduce public debt, create macro-economic stability, improve productivity of the labour force, and enhance investor confidence, as the major steps to achieve sustained economic growth and development.