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Holness happy with IDB’s MSMEs input

Published:Tuesday | October 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry
Andrew Holness

Western Bureau:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is fully committed to providing the support needed by the local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to drive sustained economic growth.

Holness, who was addressing hundreds of local and inter-national guests at the opening of Foromic 2016 Conference in St James this week, acknowledged the country was facing economic and social challenges, including crime, which needs to be overcome.

In fact, he noted that, stimulating MSMEs to enhance growth is integral in the bid to overcome poverty and channel individuals towards viable income generation and opportunities.

'Creating Opportunities Through Financial Inclusion', which is the very theme of the conference, is the catalyst that will help stimulate this vision," said Holness. "This is to be achieved with the partnership of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is the organiser behind the three-day forum."

"The Government's goal is to provide the best business climate and support services to encourage financial inclusion and drive sustainable economic growth and meaningful job creation," continued Holness.

"Individuals, and, therefore, MSMEs, will benefit and better position themselves to strengthen Jamaica economy and more participation on the global trade."

However, the prime minister raised concerns about the fact that many local MSMEs continue to operate within the informal sector of the country.

He aims to bring these informal MSMEs into the legal framework and said a study is being done with the support of the IDB to gather more current and accurate data.

"If the contribution of the informal sector were taken into account, Jamaica's GDP would register approximately 40 per cent increase in size," the prime minister noted.

In response to being lauded by the prime minister for the IDB's effort to help Jamaica to improve its business environment and competitiveness, IDB President Luis Moreno said the organisation stood ready to help the country speed up the transition to a stronger growth.

"That's why we are supporting everything, from an expanding access to micro-credit in communities, to developing psychrometric tools that will help banks to evaluate loan applications from entrepreneurial businesses or putting together Jamaica's first Angel Investor Network," Moreno stated.

Foromic is the region's leading forum for supporting and financing MSMEs and small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Each year, the forums gather numerous countries to exchange ideas and knowledge of the best practices and strategies to promote entrepreneurship and economic activities.