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Published:Tuesday | July 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM

US$50m World Bank loan to help boost business competitiveness

Existing and new businesses operating in Jamaica will soon benefit from streamlined regulations and processes, public-private partnerships, as well as training and access to financing.

This will be facilitated through a World Bank-approved US$50-million loan for the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project

The project complements Jamaica's fiscal and monetary measures by supporting efforts within the public sector to enhance competitiveness among enterprises.

According to the 2014 World Bank Doing Business report, Jamaica ranked 23rd out of 189 economies in the category of starting a business, but is placed 168th in paying taxes.

Higher costs

Businesses in Jamaica also face higher costs for several critical services.

World Bank country director for the Caribbean, Sophie Sirtaine, says the project is an essential building block that will boost Jamaica's competitiveness and private-sector development.

She says by reducing the time and costs associated with certain processes, small businesses will be able to grow, and large companies will be interested in making strategic investments.

The six-year Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project will be implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica in collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica and JAMPRO.

Cop, engineers among five charged in forgery probe

The five men, including a police inspector and a former civil servant, who were arrested in a major forgery and conspiracy probe on Friday have now been charged.

They are to appear in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court today.

They are: 48-year-old Inspector of Police Andrew Bobb, 44-year-old civil engineer and businessman, George Knight, 40-year-old Melville Edwards, 62-year-old Clava Mantock Sr and his 32-year-old son, Clava Mantock Jr, both electrical engineers.

Former NWA projects manager

Knight is a former projects manager at the National Works Agency (NWA). He and his co-accused are jointly charged with forgery, uttering forged documents, and conspiracy to deceive. They were held in a coordinated series of operations at six locations last Friday.

According to the police, it was the culmination of an investigation that started two years ago. The operations were spearheaded by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force, with support from the Anti-Corruption Branch, the Financial Investigation Division, Mobile Reserve and the Flying Squad.