Simpson Miller advocates self-disclosure among stock market aspirants
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is urging companies that want to tap the stock market for capital to get used to self-disclosure, even while noting the potential contribution of the Jamaica Stock Exchange to economic growth and development was yet to be fully exploited.
Simpson Miller, as guest speaker during the opening ceremony of the 10th annual JSE Investment & Capital Markets Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday, said that “the ability to leverage the stock market carries with it responsibilities for businesses”, which include openness to public scrutiny.
“They must be willing to subject their operations to the ultimate tests of transparency and accountability,” she said.
“Sometimes there is reluctance on the part of businesses to subject themselves to this thorough examination, thus depriving themselves of access to the resources they need to finance expansion,” the Prime Minister added.
The 46-year-old Jamaica Stock Exchange has 74 securities listed across its main, junior and USD markets. Comparatively, the Companies Office of Jamaica which holds a register of local companies, at last count had more than 90,000 companies recorded.
In its five years of operation, the JSE junior exchange has had 25 listings, raising $3 billion of equity capital for small and medium companies over that time. The junior market has been active due to the tax breaks offered to SMEs to list their companies. However, the Government began rolling back the incentives at the start of 2014 and plans to phase them out entirely by 2021.
Simpson Miller said her administration was committed to developing and implementing the right mix of policies to create the environment for business and commerce to flourish; citing a slew of new legislation passed in the last three years and Jamaica's improvement in the global Doing Business rankings.
Speaking to the JSE conference theme of growth through innovation, she noted that the National Commission on Science and Technology and a newly established National Culture and Creative Industries Commission to work on plans to promote innovation across relevant sectors of the economy.