Business leaders gave the 2018 Jamaica Survey of Establishments (JSE) the nod during a panel discussion about the survey on September 25 in Kingston.
Panellists credited the PIOJ, STATIN and the World Bank for delivering on the survey, and gave responses on the next steps so that actions can be taken to use the baseline data to promote business and economic development.
Director General of the PIOJ, Dr Wayne Henry, said that the survey places emphasis on the need for additional targeted, data driven policies that will support business. The survey is an initiative of the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project (FCGP) of the PIOJ, which is mandated to strengthen Jamaica's business environment for private sector investment. It is funded by a World Bank loan.
President of the MSME Alliance, Mr Donovan Wignal, is looking forward to the impact that the JSE should have on more targeted policies to increase the likelihood of MSME establishments accessing business financing, in particular loans targeted at MSMEs. He reminded the gathering that MSMEs have an impact on economic growth figures.
President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Mr Lloyd Distant Jr, cautioned that the JSE did not capture the many informal establishments that did not operate from a permanent address. He noted that the report showed that high taxation is one of the challenges to be addressed in policy formulation.
President of JAMPRO—the government agency that promotes business opportunities in export and investment to the local and international private sector—Ms Diane Edwards, said that the data corroborates JAMPRO's position on the lack of support for its export initiatives. She noted that JAMPRO's programme, Export Max 111, had 150 applicants but can accommodate only a third of this number. She noted that assisting exporters and SMEs would have a huge impact on economic growth, including growth in the SME sector. She said that the National Export Strategy and the Trade Facilitation Task Force now need attention and financing to bring the desired output.
Managing Director of the Development Bank of Jamaica, Mr Milverton Reynolds, stated that the country's development banks need more data on the MSME sector so that they can do the targeted work to support them.
Responding to the call for more detailed surveys on establishments, Director General of STATIN, Ms Carol Coy, noted that the agency is into planning for the Population and Housing Census. Data gathering for the census ends in August 2021. After this date, and once funding is in place, STATIN could schedule a follow-up survey.
The panel discussion immediately followed the presentation of the key findings in the survey and its policy implications and was moderated by PIOJ Senior Director, Economic Planning and Research Division, Mr. James Stewart.
Contact: Gwyneth Davidson (Communication Specialist)
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