Stumbling blocks to YEP
The Editor, Sir:
Thanks for your editorial of March 26 about the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP). You are so right.
Too many potential beneficiaries (such as myself, a young business-woman, and people I know) do not know of its existence. There is, too, a high degree of entrepreneurism and dynamism in Jamaica, but the public sector makes it difficult to make it flourish and thrive.
For instance, I have to import products for my business; some-times my import duties are 100 per cent of the cost of what I've brought in. Other times, the charges (on the same items, same quantity) are minimal. When I complain to my customs brokers, they tell me that unfortunately, duties are are left to the discretion of customs officers, or depending on the officer you get. How is anyone to run a business when one's costs are randomly determined by another person's discretion, or by who is on duty?
As a result, and again you are right: people opt to do things informally or the bandooloo way, often for a peaceful life. That, in turn, creates other challenges, such as banks - out of mistrust and problems from bandooloo behaviour - requiring that you provide everything short of blood to open an account, much less a business account.
Public inefficiency is one of the roots of the problems our country faces. Until there is serious systemic change, what the Government should have done is not only promote the scheme better, but partner with other entities to provide a one-stop-shop for young entrepreneurs: offer them help in writing a business plan, support in opening a bank account, advice on GCT and taxes, etc. Youngsters would do and get everything one time. Maybe these services do exist and, of course, we don't know about them.
So instead, the Government has chosen, as usual, to blame the people.
I am, etc.,