Mon | Dec 10, 2018

World Bank rep says Jamaica needs consistent reforms

Published:Friday | June 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Catherine Masinde, practice manager of the World Bank Group's global business regulation unit, believes that while Jamaica has significant growth potential, it needs to implement several consistent reforms to be viable as an investment and trade facilitator.

Masinde made the comment yesterday while addressing the third and final day of JAMPRO's third triennial Jamaica Investment Forum at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James. The triennial forum, which was launched in 2012, was held under the theme 'Connect for Business'.

In her address, Masinde said that Jamaica's various world rankings tended to shift and vary and needed to be stabilised to improve the country's potential for growth.

"Jamaica is on a trajectory of improving its ranking, but it has to do this in a consistent manner," stated Masinde. "In starting a business, Jamaica is ranked fifth, but when you look at trading across borders, you are ranked 130. Jamaica can actually reform.

"Jamaica sits in a prime spot to drive regional integration and trade because you have access to all the island states around you, and you have access to the United States," continued Masinde. "My plea to you is to learn from yourselves. Go to the business registry and find out what is being done right that can be replicated across the Government."

Masinde, who came armed with recommendations and suggestions, also pointed to the gains that Jamaica could potentially receive through its construction sector.

"The construction sector is growing and has a lot of potential. It has implications for your tourism sector and for your urban cities, which are growing at a phenomenal rate," stated Masinde. "Construction permits could become a driving force for implementation of reforms, but there are specific things we could help you with such as establishing a fast-track of approval for non-risky constructions."

During the forum, Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, identified the construction sector as a means by which Jamaica's gross domestic product could potentially grow.