HOLLYWOOD – Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda urged members of the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce (JAUSACC) in Florida to consider investing in the island at this time, primarily in the areas of telecommunications as well as manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing.
Speaking at their recent Board meeting in Hollywood, Florida last Thursday (Oct. 29), the Minister said that while Government is starting programs to offer low cost loans to micro-businesses across the island, opportunities were being provided for investment through partnering programs especially in the areas of research and technology that can be applied to the domestic situation in Jamaica.
Jamaica, he said, was becoming a demand destination for telemarketing and appealed to the Chamber members to be part of the opportunities for investment not only altruistic but also for personal profit. According to the Minister, while providing personal benefits and advantages to investors, investment in the Jamaican economy would also create jobs and employment.
Referring to the establishment of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME), Government was supportive of the project indicating that it provided basic areas to stimulate business, namely access to capital, training in business techniques and marketing and programs to lure the interest of the small business owners in the local economy, at the same time capitalizing on talent and creativity.
As a result of the recent meltdown in the US economy, the Minister indicated that a positive approach had to be taken to create opportunities to stimulate the local economy. He cited areas that would be negatively impacted including pressure on cash flow, credit arrangements for business and financial sector, exports and imports targeting the USA, adding that Jamaica’s trade import figures were in excess of those relating to export.
Hon. Karl Samuda
The Minister also alluded to the fact that remittances as well as earnings from tourism could be affected. He added that the American meltdown had caused a slight depreciation in the Jamaican currency that could further threaten cost of food items, consumer items and labor settlements.
As nationals in the Diaspora could personally feel the negative effect of the recent downturn in the USA economy, the Minister said that remittances as well as earnings from tourism could also be impacted.
While Jamaica remained an attractive and strategic location for investment interest, the Minister reiterated to nationals in the Diaspora to take advantage of the opportunities for investment.
Reminding his audience that every country must protect its domestic responsibilities, the Minister also called for consumer confidence and called for full participation of the people and private sector in taking an interest in stimulating our local Jamaican economy.
Minister Samuda also informed that Government intended to reduce areas of bureaucracy to allow for more flexibility and accessibility in the system.
In her first meeting with the JAUSACC board of directors, newly appointed Consul General, Mrs. Sandra Griffiths was welcomed in her role as honorary chair of JAUSACC.
Expressing appreciation to the members of the Chamber for maintaining interest in their homeland, the Consul General expressed her desire to work with them especially as it relates to trade and investment in the Jamaican economy.
President of the nearly 400- member Chamber is Ms. Marie Gill, owner and President of M. Gill & Associates, a Miami-based consulting firm.
The Chamber formed in March 2004, is the brainchild of former Consul General, Mr. Ricardo Allicock.