The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) says that in the New Year It will take a number of initiatives that amount to “walking the walk” toward increased growth in the Jamaican economy.
In a statement at the final meeting of the Board of the JCC, for 2019, on Tuesday, President Lloyd Distant Jnr., said the Chamber was concerned that the economy was not growing.
“If we are to break the back of low growth, there are a number of things that we need to focus on in the short, medium and long term,” Mr Distant said. According to him “focus” did not mean talk.
He identified some of the issues and areas of activity that need to be addressed. These include: productivity, exports, import substitution and MSMEs.
He said Jamaica was not growing its exports. “The latest full-year data that we have seen (2018) suggests that our trade deficit is still widening not simply with respect to CARICOM – which has been the case for many years now – but also with many of our other markets.”
With regard to import substitution this has taken too long even though a good start has been made with the Tourism Linkages Project, he said.
Regarding MSMEs, the JCC President said “there is no question that it is through the sustainable expansion of the MSME community that we will see meaningful sustainable growth. However, the MSME community – including a growing set of women and young people – characteristically has more difficulty in being capacitated to function efficiently, to access finance and other issues.” He said in recent months there have been some initiatives wherein traditional financial institutions will make themselves more responsive to MSME needs
He said the JCC was committing to “walk the walk” for growth and to rolling out a number of partnership initiatives in that regard.