New PSOJ boss to focus on job creation, business environment
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Improving the country's business environment and creating many more jobs have been listed as the immediate priority items for the new executive of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), headed by William Mahfood, chairman of the WYSYNCO Group Limited.
"I would like to focus on how do we create an environment for doing business in Jamaica, that is open, that is inviting to investors, that is more efficient," Mahfood told The Gleaner last night, just minutes after being elected PSOJ president. "If you look at the current environment for just doing business generally, I think it's not an efficient one, and I think that's one of the areas that I would like to focus on. And there are so many different things within that framework that need to be looked at."
Noting that the country has gone through a very difficult patch in recent years, including the strictures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mahfood praised his predecessor, Christopher Zacca, for the phenomenal job he did in respect of the Partnership for Jamaica, as well as other initiatives.
However, he indicated that much more needs to be done to make the local business environment more efficient and effective.
"There is still a lot more that needs to be done and it's not just regulations, it's not just tax policies; there is a lot of different things. So I think that is going to be the area of focus, at least in the short-term, and to continue the advocacy work that has been developed under the previous administration," the PSOJ president declared.
"Continue with trying to bring more of the associations under the umbrella of the PSOJ and they being able to speak with a unified voice about what is in the best interest of the country. We have so many marginalised people in the country that need to have their interests looked out for; many of them are employees and many of them are searching for jobs and can't find jobs, so I think we just have to look at all those different areas."
Joining Mahfood on the new executive are vice presidents Christopher Barnes, managing director of The Gleaner Company Jamaica Ltd; Dennis Cohen, deputy group managing director at NCB; and Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, managing director of Continental Baking Company Ltd.
Frank James, group chief financial officer at GraceKennedy Ltd, was elected honorary treasurer. The honorary secretary is to be appointed by the executive committee at its first meeting.
Elected to the Executive Committee were representatives of the Jamaica Bankers Association, Jamaica Exporters' Association, Jamaica Employers' Federation, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Jamaica Securities Dealers Association, MSME Alliance and the Women Business Owners Jamaica Ltd.
The Executive Committee comprises the president, three vice presidents, CEO, honorary secretary, honorary treasurer and the seven association representatives.
The PSOJ is governed by a 50-member council which is elected by the general membership to serve for a two-year period.