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Third Digital Wallet Provider Expected to Enter the Jamaican Market Soon

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A third digital payment wallet provider is expected to enter the market in the near future to facilitate transactions utilising Jamaica’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The prospective wallet provider is said to be on the verge of entering the Bank of Jamaica’s (BOJ’s) regulatory sandbox, which is a mechanism to facilitate financial technology innovations testing.

This was announced by BOJ Governor, Richard Byles, during the Central Bank’s quarterly monetary policy media briefing at the BOJ Auditorium in downtown Kingston recently.

Digital wallet electronic platforms offer payment solutions that facilitate transactions involving CBDC, a digital form of central bank-issued currency.

CBDC is legal tender that can be exchanged dollar for dollar with physical cash.

Jamaica’s CBDC is called JAM-DEX, which stands for Jamaica Digital Exchange.

“I’m happy to say that although we only have one institution that is currently offering JAM-DEX, and I must big up that institution, they have been doing so for more than a year now, and that is National Commercial Bank (NCB). There is another that is complete and ready to roll. They are just doing their testing internally and I expect that, shortly, they will come on board. There is another that is behind that is about to enter the sandbox,” Governor Byles said.

Lynk was the first wallet provider approved by the BOJ for CBDC transactions and is available through NCB.

Earlier this year, the BOJ announced Jamaica National as the second wallet provider for CBDC.

Mr. Byles described the facility’s development as an investment in the sector.

He noted that it “costs quite a bit of money” for commercial banks to develop their wallets.

“One of the largest expenses that a bank has, especially the large retail banks, is the management of cash. One of the biggest headaches that they have is the movement of cash, and one of the prospects of the digital currency is that it will reduce this cost and reduce this headache,” the Governor said.

He further pointed out, “One of the biggest expenses for most retail enterprise businesses is the handling of cash, the storage of it, the transportation of it.

“So even the business enterprises will benefit from the existence and usage of digital currency. So, there are long-term benefits to be reaped from this initial investment.”

“This is what I keep saying to the banks. I want to encourage them. This is an investment, not for tomorrow’s P&L (profit and loss). It is an investment to deliver better service in the near term as well as to improve your P&L in the medium term,” Mr. Byles added.

The Governor pointed out that smaller enterprises have been taking advantage of the digital currency as they serve their customers.

“Smaller merchants who don’t have Point of Sale (POS) machines and would have a cellphone, we are beginning and have had significant success in pushing out the programme to have them recruited to take JAM-DEX, and we have a significant number of them who are now in a position to do so.

We also have over 200,000 individuals who have the capacity on their phones to pay for services and goods with JAMDEX,” Mr. Byles said.

He advised that the Government is committed to supporting the Central Bank in its efforts to roll out JAM-DEX.

“In two consecutive budget presentations, the Minister of Finance [and the Public Service] has set aside funds to help us to recruit small merchants to JAM-DEX and to get the programme going. We are now speaking to other agencies of Government that handle taxes and make payments – whether It’s PATH payments or pension payments. So, we have a large player in the form of the Government that is proactively assisting us, as well as our own efforts to go out there and get these POS machines reconfigured, so that they can accept JAM-DEX QR codes,” the Governor informed.

He said once these machines are recalibrated, a mass campaign will be undertaken to encourage more persons to use the facility.

“It means that every supermarket, every fast-food enterprise, pharmacies, all of the kind of merchants that you and I go to several times and spend quite a bit of money with, they will be able to take JAM-DEX. At that point, we will start a big mass campaign to get individuals to take JAM-DEX on their phones and to begin to use it as currency,” he said.

Head of External Communications and Protocol, BOJ, Melanie Lawes, said the list of merchants accepting JAM-DEX is available on the Bank’s website.

JAM-DEX provides a safe, efficient, and convenient way to pay for goods and services, according to BOJ representatives.

By: CHRIS PATTERSON JIS

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Corporate Feature: BlackSlate Holdings Group: Pioneering Investment Excellence and Global Impact

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In the dynamic landscape of private investments, BlackSlate Holdings Group Limited stands out as a beacon of innovation and strategic foresight. As a privately owned Jamaican registered holding company, BlackSlate orchestrates a diverse array of companies and investments that span the United States and the Caribbean. This article delves into the essence of BlackSlate, examining its commitment to delivering secure returns, strategic investment focus, corporate support structure, and the profound impact of The Walkbout Foundation.

Securing Returns in a Diverse Portfolio:

BlackSlate’s primary objective is to provide its select group of shareholders with safe and consistent returns through a meticulously curated portfolio of regional and international investments. The company’s adept management oversees investments in wholly owned subsidiaries, real estate, patents, trademarks, stocks, and other tradable assets. This approach not only ensures stability but also positions BlackSlate as a pioneer in navigating the complexities of the modern investment landscape.

Strategic Investment Focus:

BlackSlate’s strategic focus centers around identifying and securing private equity positions in small and medium-sized companies with robust business models and growth potential. This distinctive approach has allowed BlackSlate to carve a niche in the market, creating a well-diversified investment profile that seamlessly integrates technology, real estate, and enriching travel experiences.

Unifying Corporate Support:

Beyond financial growth, BlackSlate recognizes the importance of unifying its investments and businesses under a centralized corporate structure. This commitment to cohesive management ensures optimal efficiency in policy direction and management services, setting the stage for sustained success.

The Walkbout Foundation: Fostering Global Experiences:

At the core of BlackSlate’s mission is The Walkbout Foundation, a testament to the company’s commitment to making a positive impact. This foundation, in addition to supporting environmental activities, champions travel as a transformative force for developing human capacity and experiences. Annually, BlackSlate sponsors individuals under the age of 25, enabling them to explore diverse cultures, cuisines, and beverages on the global stage. This initiative is funded through a percentage of the company’s net revenues, exemplifying BlackSlate’s dedication to creating lasting value beyond financial metrics.

Conclusion:

BlackSlate Holdings Group Limited emerges as a trailblazer in the world of private investments, combining strategic acumen with a commitment to global impact. As the company continues to navigate the complexities of the investment landscape, its focus on securing returns, strategic investment approach, unified corporate support, and philanthropic initiatives through The Walkbout Foundation solidify BlackSlate’s position as a leader in investment excellence.

www.blackslateholdings.com

 

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Derrimon Secures Landmark Financing Partnership Of Up To US$13m With IDB Invest

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Proceeds to support capital and capacity building, reusable green energy and the modernization and enhanced efficiency of company’s warehouse and distribution channels.

Derrimon Trading Company Limited (DTL), a leading distributor of consumer goods in Jamaica, has successfully secured a landmark financing partnership of up to thirteen million dollars (US$13,000,000) with IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The financing, structured in three tranches, is expected to propel Derrimon towards achieving key initiatives focused on trade financing, brand building, employment generation, and green energy implementation.

The financing comprises:
Tranche I: A committed senior financing of up to three million dollars (US$3,000,000) to finance the implementation of solar panels, and modernization of the company’s warehouse and distribution center in Jamaica.

Tranche II: A committed revolving credit line of up to five million United States dollars (US$5,000,000) to purchase goods from eligible Suppliers in various jurisdictions, including Guyana, Suriname, and Norway.

Tranche III: An uncommitted senior financing of up to five million dollars (US$5,000,000) to finance capital expenditure and/or working capital needs in Jamaica.

The usage of the proceeds aligns with Derrimon’s commitment to sustainable practices and the development of local infrastructure.

Derrick Cotterell , Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer at Derrimon Trading Company Ltd, expressed the historical significance of working with a multilateral institution like IDB Invest on a transaction of this nature. “This partnership is a testament to the strong foundation we have built over the past years and reinforces our commitment to excellence in trade financing, brand development, job creation, and green energy initiatives. Collaborating with IDB Invest is a historic milestone for us, and we are confident that it will significantly contribute to the growth and sustainability of our business,” shared Cotterell.

The transaction, marshaled by legal representatives Basil Lee Williams of Matthew Hogart & Company Limited for DTL, Hunton Andrews Kurth (Vera Rechsteiner and Gustavo RodriquezVillate), NY Counsel for IDB Invest and Hart, Muirhead, Fatta (Donovan Walker and Justine Collins), Jamaican Counsel for IDB Invest, emphasizes the meticulous approach taken in structuring this groundbreaking financing arrangement.

Derrimon Trading, with operations dating back to 1998, has evolved into a major player in the consumer goods distribution sector, with a diverse portfolio that includes Sampars, Select Grocers, Caribbean Flavours & Fragrances, Spicy Hill Farms, Arosa Limited, Woodcats International, Food Savers NY Inc, and Good Foods For Less LLC NY.

As IDB Invest continues to be one of the partner of choice for the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, Derrimon Trading remains committed to economic growth, social inclusion, and sustainable business practices. The partnership signals a new chapter in the company’s journey, fostering growth and innovation in the region.

“Latin America and the Caribbean region is responsible for 40% of the food traded worldwide. At IDB Invest, we are committed to working with companies like Derrimon in Jamaica to play a leading role in being part of the solution to global needs,” said James Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest.

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Corporate Movements

Corporate Movements – February 2024

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MASSY HOLDINGS LTD. Board wishes to advise that Mr. E. Gervase Warner, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, has undertaken to proceed on early retirement from the Company and retire from its Board of Directors effective April 06, 2024. The Board is also pleased to advise that Mr. David Alfonso, Executive Vice President and Executive Chairman Integrated Retail Portfolio, will replace Mr. Warner as President and Group Chief Executive Officer effective April 06, 2024, while continuing in his current role. The Chairman and the Board of Directors would like to thank Mr. Warner for his many years of dedicated service to the Group.

GraceKennedy Limited has advised that Mr Jason Bailey has been appointed to the position of Head of Risk, effective February 1 , 2024.
Prior to joining GraceKennedy, Mr. Bailey served as Manager, Risk & Compliance at VM Wealth Management Limited; and Manager, Enterprise Risk Management, Strategic & Operational Risks at Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited. Mr Bailey holds an MSc in Enterprise Risk Management and a BSc in Mathematics, with an emphasis on Actuarial Science. In his new role, Mr. Bailey will report to the Group Chief Compliance Officer & Senior Legal Counsel.

Seprod Limited (SEP) announces that Mr. Euton Cummings joined the Seprod Group as Chief Strategy Officer–Human Capital effective January 1, 2024. Mr. Cummings holds a B.Sc. in Accounting and Management Studies and a M.Sc. in Computer Based Management System. He has more than 25 years of executive experience and comes to Seprod from a distinguished career in the banking sector. The Group welcomes Mr. Cummings and wish for him success in his new role.

Scotia Group Jamaica Limited announces the appointment of Dayne Bucknor to the role Director, Strategic and Business Analytics, Caribbean North & Central and Christopher Samuels to the role Regional Director, Jamaica Retail District B, both effective February 1, 2024.

Seprod Limited (SEP) informs that Dr. Patrick Sterling departed the Seprod Group as Group Human Resource and Industrial Relations Manager effective December 31, 2023. Dr. Sterling served the Group for over ten years and was responsible for several key developments in the human resource and industrial relations functions.

Caribbean Assurance Brokers Limited wishes to advise that effective January 31, 2024 Ms. Krystal Gayle, has transitioned from her position as Divisional Manager – International Insurance and has joined our third party claims administrator (loss adjuster) for International Health Insurance (ICHIP) in a more senior role. As a result, Ms. Judane Brissett has been promoted to Administrative Manager – International Insurance Division, effective February 1, 2024.

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Exploring the Path to Enhanced Transportation Efficiency in Jamaica

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Jamaica stands at a critical juncture in transforming its transportation sector to achieve both economic resilience and sustainable development. Reflecting on the broader goals within the realms of energy efficiency and sustainability, it becomes imperative to examine the factors influencing Jamaica’s transportation efficiency. As an island nation with a high dependency on imported fossil fuels, Jamaica faces unique challenges that directly impact its transportation sector’s efficiency and sustainability.

External Economic Vulnerabilities

Being economically vulnerable to external factors, such as fluctuations in global energy prices, significantly influences Jamaica’s transportation sector. This vulnerability stems from an over-reliance on imported oil, making the cost of transportation susceptible to global oil market dynamics. Such dependencies not only increase the operational costs of transportation but also hinder efforts towards achieving efficiency and sustainability.

The volatility of oil prices directly impacts the operating costs for both public and private transportation modes, translating into higher fares for commuters and increased expenses for goods transportation. This scenario underscores the urgent need for Jamaica to diversify its energy sources and reduce dependency on imported oil.

Integrating renewable energy sources into the transportation sector could serve as a viable mitigative strategy. Utilizing Jamaica’s abundant renewable resources, such as solar and wind, could significantly reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, thereby insulating the transportation sector from external economic shocks and contributing to enhanced efficiency.

However, transitioning to renewable energy-powered transportation systems involves overcoming a range of structural, economic, and technical challenges. Investments in infrastructure, public awareness, and regulatory frameworks are essential to facilitate this transition.

Societal Consumption Patterns

Jamaica’s high consumption society profoundly impacts transportation efficiency. Choices in vehicular purchases, for instance, are seldom made with energy efficiency in mind. This inclination towards high-consumption models contributes to greater fuel use and increased greenhouse gas emissions, further straining the push towards transportation efficiency.

Addressing societal consumption patterns requires a shift in public perception and behavior towards transportation. Encouraging the adoption of energy-efficient vehicles through incentives and awareness campaigns could play a significant role in this regard. Additionally, promoting public transportation and non-motorized transport modes as viable and efficient alternatives could also help reduce the transportation sector’s overall energy footprint.

Furthermore, enhancing public awareness about the interconnectedness of lifestyle choices, energy consumption, and environmental impact is crucial. Education and outreach initiatives that highlight the benefits of energy-efficient transportation choices could foster a societal shift towards sustainability.

The Government of Jamaica’s role in championing energy efficiency via policy interventions, such as the National Energy Policy and the Vision 2030 Jamaica Plan, plays a pivotal role in steering society towards more sustainable consumption patterns. Regulatory instruments, alongside targets and incentives for energy efficiency, can provide a balanced mix of push and pull factors to drive efficiency improvements across the transportation sector.

Infrastructure and Technology

Infrastructure and technology advancements are pivotal for enhancing Jamaica’s transportation efficiency. The existing transportation infrastructure often does not support optimal energy use or facilitate the deployment of modern, energy-efficient technologies.

Investing in infrastructure modernization and maintenance can significantly reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector. Improvements in road quality, for example, can decrease fuel consumption by reducing vehicle wear and tear and travel times.

Adopting advanced transportation technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) and implementing smart traffic management systems can also contribute to efficiency. However, such technological transitions require supportive infrastructure, including EV charging stations and integrated traffic management systems.

In conclusion, a multi-faceted approach encompassing policy interventions, societal shifts, and infrastructure and technological upgrades is essential for improving transportation efficiency in Jamaica. Addressing these key factors will not only contribute to reducing Jamaica’s carbon footprint but also pave the way towards a more resilient and sustainable transportation sector.

  • Economic vulnerabilities due to reliance on imported oil significantly impact transportation costs and efficiency.
  • Societal consumption patterns and preferences towards high-consumption vehicles impede efforts towards transportation efficiency.
  • Investments in infrastructure and technology are crucial for enabling the adoption of energy-efficient transportation solutions.
  • Government policy and regulatory frameworks play a pivotal role in driving the transition towards more efficient and sustainable transportation systems.

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JSE REGIONAL CAPITAL MARKET CONFERENCE 2024 The Drivers of Capital: From Concept to Growth – JANUARY 23-25, 2024

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Background
The Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference started in 2006 and is hosted annually by the JSE at the beginning of each year. The Conference attracts an elite group of executives and sponsors from different industries in Jamaica and across the region. There is no better testimony to the success of any Conference than the fact that the major sponsors remain on-board year after year. Jefferies Group LLC is the Conference’s main overseas sponsor, a leading global investment banking firm that provides investors, companies and governments with a full range of investment banking and wealth management services across the financial spectrum.

By its successful staging each year, JSE’s Regional Conference has earned its place as a calendar event to which government officials, leading experts in business, investors and other stakeholders, locally and worldwide look forward to attend each year. With each year’s theme, the Conference gets more exciting and entertaining. Since 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference is held in hybrid format and participants join from Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America. This has enhanced the popularity of the Conference and positioned it to being among the best conferences in the world.

The Conference examines areas of growth, challenges and advancements that are currently shaping societies and the world economies and critique how economies and businesses can best manage such rapid changes and capitalize on opportunities for progress through provocative discussions, formal and informal.

Every year, the conference brings together world class leaders and industry experts who willingly share their success secrets and demystify complex topics into common language that business people and professionals from every sector can understand and be equipped for the year ahead, to navigate successfully and thrive through the sweeping global trends and disruptions that are affecting every country and region.

For More Information CLICK THIS LINK

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