Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Caricom launches on line platforms to facilitate trade, business in the region

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The Caricom Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Caricom Secretariat based in Guyana says the bloc's single market and economy initiative, the CSME, has been given a boost with the launch of four new online platforms aimed at promoting trade and improving the ease of doing business.

With the support from the European Union, the trading bloc has launched the Caricom Online Companies Registries; Labour Market Information System; Community Public Procurement Notice Board; and the CARREX Platform and Online Public Portal.

It said the Caricom Online Companies Registries provide a region-wide electronic platform for online name searches and name reservation, business and company registration, public access to records, e-payments and e-signatures, among other features.

It will also facilitate a better overview of the prevailing business climate in the region, helping for example, to identify areas of saturation, those with growth potential, and even the role of the informal economy.

Dr Stephen Boyce of the European Union said at least one recent high profile example illustrates the critical importance of the platform.

"A few years ago, the in-flight magazine on LIAT was rebranded as LIME. This was just a few weeks before a telecommunications giant in the region acquired a similar moniker. The result was a further rebranding to Zing to avoid any confusion. A regional register would have avoided this," Boyce said.

The secretariat said that the development of the platform for registries required automating more than half of the national company registries in Caricom, which were still paper based, upgrading those already automated, and providing a functioning web software or application.

The Labour Market Information Systems provides a central depository for data on the labour markets in participating Caricom member states.

"This allows for better matching of skills with available positions at the regional level, and will thus facilitate movement of skills in the region and better management of labour migration within the Single Market and Economy, CSME."

Additionally, the system can guide the education system, helping it to meet market demands through academic, technical and professional development programmes designed to build and repurpose the skills of persons already in the workforce and those about to enter.

The Community Public Procurement Notice Board is meant for both the private sector and governments to facilitate the exchange of information on procurement opportunities and contract awards, both in the local space as well as in the region.

The platform can also facilitate the capture of statistics on specs, pricing and other areas which can be used for future tenders and budgeting, the Caricom Secretariat said.

The Caricom rapid alert system for dangerous, non-food consumer goods, CARREX-Online Public Portal, will serve as a source of public information on consumer goods that pose serious risks to the health and safety of consumers.

- CMC