Business

MSMEs critical to Jamaica's economy, says Green

By Balford Henry
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 22, 2019

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Government junior minister Floyd Green says that micro, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) represent the greatest potential for growth in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

“MSMEs are absolutely critical to our economies, and especially for small economies. Not only are they major contributors to employment and growth worldwide, they contribute significantly to the gross domestic product of countries across the globe,” said Green, who was just recently appointed minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

He was speaking at Wednesday's media launch for the Caribbean MSME Conference, inside the ministry's conference room in New Kingston.

Green noted that Caricom estimates that micro and small enterprises account for more than 45 per cent of jobs in the region, as well as for approximately 60 per cent of GDP in some Caricom member states.

He said that when the medium-sized businesses are included, the sector arguably contributes more than 70 per cent of jobs and more than 70 per cent of agricultural exports.

“They are also a growing source of export revenues, particularly in countries like our own middle-income countries like most Caribbean economies,” he added.

The Caribbean MSME Conference is being held in Jamaica for the second time in three years. The inaugural conference was held at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston in 2017, under the theme 'Collaboration for Caribbean Sustainability'. This year's conference will be staged at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston, April 16-18, with the theme 'Improving Sustainability through Resource Development'.

As with the first event, the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) is jointly hosting the event with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF).

The SBAJ says that it envisages the participation of a “broad mix of stakeholders, particularly business owners, innovators, regulators, buyers and sellers of goods and services, who will be networking, collaborating, promoting their capabilities and brands, developing new businesses and outsourcing opportunities”.

According to SBAJ President Hugh Johnson, the inaugural conference was a whopping success and the association is pushing for this one to be much greater.

“If you are not growing, you are dying, and we don't intend to die. We are here for a purpose, and this conference is here for the purpose to engage all the small businesses around the region to enable us at the end of it all to be better businesses in order to liberate ourselves,” Johnson said.

“We are not here by accident, but by design, and we need to redesign our course of action,” he added.

Johnson also welcomed Green to his new portfolio, noting that he seemed full of “vim, vigour, and vitality” and ready to help transform the business landscape.

He also called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to assist in enabling the sector to blossom, by removing those in his Cabinet “who are working contrary” to his purpose and cause.

He said that he was looking for a more collaborative policy with the Government, which would allow for more inclusive development and engender better working relationship between the Government and the small business sector in order to create prosperity for all and sundry.

The conference will be sponsored by JN Bank, LASCO Jamaica, Wisynco Group, Arc Manufacturing and the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Its main objectives are: to facilitate exposure to new trends in business development and management; promoting success stories among MSMEs; examining MSME policies within a macro-economic strategy; and exposing participants to new technologies and research and development in agriculture, as well as climate smart innovation.

Closing remarks came from Dr Blossom O'Meally-Nelson, who is chairperson of the 2019 Caribbean MSME Conference.


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