Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government is giving priority to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as a driver of economic growth.
He noted that “quite recently, in Parliament, it was decided that we will set aside 20 per cent of the government procurement spend solely for our MSME sector. What that means is that big companies cannot access what we have set aside. The priority will go to our MSMEs”.
“We know that for MSMEs, the playing field is not level, and if we want you to transition from micro, to small, to medium, then we have to provide a genuine opportunity for you to compete with some of the bigger players,” he added.
Mr. Green was addressing the National Entrepreneurship Week Policy Forum on Monday (November 11), at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation’ s (JAMPRO) corporate offices in New Kingston.
Under the measure being undertaken by the Government, preferential access will be given to local providers of specific goods and services in a number of areas such as the manufacture of furniture, uniforms and printing material.
“We will give preferential access to Jamaican suppliers. We believe that will provide the injection that our MSMEs need to move forward,” he said.
Mr. Green said the Government continues work to create an enabling environment that encourages the creation of businesses, and remove barriers to the growth of these enterprises.
“I believe in order to move entrepreneurship forward, in order to help, especially our MSMEs, there has to be partnership, and as such, the Government is here as a partner,” he said.
Turning to the recently published World Bank 2020 Doing Business Report (DBR), Mr. Green said while the Government is pleased with the positive assessment, several areas of deficiencies have been identified, which the Administration is working to resolve.
The report shows that Jamaica’s ranking has improved from 75 to 71 out of 190 countries, with the country’s score increasing by 1.4 per cent from 68.3 in the 2019 report to 69.7 in the 2020 report.
The State Minister noted that Jamaica performed well in the ‘Starting a Business’ area, ranking sixth in the world with an overall score of 97.4 out of 100.
“We have to create an environment in which the capabilities in your business can be shown… . The easier it is for our people to do business, the better they will do and as such, we have made some gains,” he added.
The DBR looks at the business regulations in some 190 countries and the effects they have on business performance.
Meanwhile, the State Minister commended the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA) for organising the policy forum and providing opportunities for its members to grow and succeed in the highly competitive business environment.
“I want to applaud the YEA as you help to promote business and business excellence through your peer connectivity, your networking and your forward- reaching institutional partnerships,” he said.
The Policy Forum was part of several activities hosted by the YEA in observance of National Entrepreneurship Week from November 10 to 15, under the theme ‘Flexibility and Capability – the Keys to Unlocking Entrepreneurial Advancement, Inclusive Economic Growth and Social Transformation’.
YEA has been observing National Entrepreneurship Week since 2010.