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MSME sector an important driver of growth — Shaw

Friday, November 16, 2018

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MANCHESTER, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sectorrepresents one of the greatest growth potentials for Jamaica.

He noted that data from the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) for 2015 show that approximately 97.6 per cent of classified taxpayers are MSMEs, contributing approximately18 per cent of taxes.

In addition, he said there are approximately 417,700 own-account workers in addition to an estimated 198,000 registered farmers on the ministry's Agricultural Business Information System.

This, he said, makes it clear that the MSME sector can be an important driver of inclusive and broad-based economic development.

“I believe we can all agree that our MSMEs create and retain wealth, generate opportunities for employment and provide support for private-sector development,” he said.

Shaw was delivering the main address at the 20/Twenty Strategies Consulting-organised 'Elevate Your Business with the Power of Technology' conference at the Mandeville Hotel on Wednesday. The event was part of activities in observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 12 to 18.

The minister noted that Government has, over the last 30 years, placed significant and strategic focus on MSMEs, in recognition of the role the sector can play as a major contributor to wealth creation, employment generation and sustainable development.

He said reforms have been undertaken to increase access to financing by expanding the list of approved financial institutions and microfinance entities; lower the cost of credit for productivity-based loans to an average of 10 per cent; and reduce the time it takes to register a business at the Companies Office of Jamaica, among other measures.

He cited steps being undertaken to update the MSME and entrepreneurship policy to provide a policy framework for the sector over the next three to five years; strengthening coordination between the MSME division in the ministry at the policy level and the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) at the operational level;development of a Micro Stock Exchange; and establishment of an MSME Production Fund.

Meanwhile, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ingenuity Technologies Ltd, Melarka Williams, who spoke on the topic 'Digital Transformation and Transformation and MSMEs', encouraged the group to develop a digital road map “to understand where their businesses are now and where they want to go”.

“You must have a workable strategy before you implement any kind of technology. Be sure you understand the industry you are operating in,and this will let you know the type of challenges you are likely to face, so you can plan around them,” he advised.

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