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Aubyn Hill commits to fixing issues impacting growth of MSMEs

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February 2024

Senator Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce

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 23 Feb 2024    admin   

In furthering its support for the development of a flourishing micro, small and medium-size enterprise (MSME) sector, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) staged both the consultations for the new National MSME Entrepreneurship Policy and Micro Business Pitch Competition on February 20.

Senator Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investment and commerce, in delivering the keynote address, highlighted the improvements to the economy and business sectors under the Andrew Holness administration. Specifically, he pointed out that in October 2023, Jamaica recorded the lowest ever unemployment numbers at 4.2 per cent. From January 2023 to August 2023, exports increased by 29 per cent, which translated to US$1,441.5 million in earnings as compared to the similar period in the previous year. Additionally, between July 2023 – September 2023, GDP grew by 2.1 per cent when compared to the same period the previous year.

There was also growth in the MSME sector. In 2023, 14,193 MSMEs filed their GCT returns as opposed to 10,149 in the previous year, which is a 3.3 per cent increase.

According to a World Bank survey, Jamaica has an estimated 425,000 MSMEs and Hill indicated that he is committed to promoting the growth and success of these MSMEs while adding new ones, which includes assisting them to formalise their operations and comply with tax regulations.

Hill admitted that there are still a number of issues being faced by the MSMEs, including access to affordable financing, business development support, lack of innovation and an inability for the businesses to be scalable and expand. He reiterated his commitment to helping the sector develop with paths towards increased digitisation and helping with access to affordable financing. There are also initiatives to assist women, the youth and disabled who are interested in entrepreneurship.

Among the initiatives being spearheaded by the MIIC to stimulate the sector are:

  • Business Missions – These are designed to establish and explore connections in different markets with distributors, partners and buyers. Since 2021, the Minister has gone to several business missions in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Canada, UK and some US cities (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and New York).
  • MSME Roadshows – The MIIC and its 20 agencies had roadshows in Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Mandeville. The roadshows saw participation of over 1000 MSMEs, 20 of them got newly registered and 12 received a total of J$3.6m in grants from the Development Bank of Jamaica.
  • Women in Entrepreneurship Support – This is done in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport to support woman-owned MSMEs. There have been workshops held on St Thomas on February 15 and Manchester on February 16. These workshops help with company registration and financial assistance up to $25,000. The next workshop is scheduled for February 28 in Westmoreland.
  • Business Reform Campaign – The ministry and its agencies, in collaboration with JAMPRO and National Competitiveness Council, launched a nationwide communication campaign to aid in sensitisation of the Government’s support of the sector. The campaign focuses on sharing information, including but not limited to starting businesses, getting credit, paying taxes, trading, construction permits, registrations and enforcement of contracts.

The commerce minister also pointed out the importance of large companies helping MSMEs. He emphasised that shared expertise and experiences will foster stronger business sector, which would be mutually beneficial to entities of all sizes.

In closing, Hill congratulated the 25 businesses which entered the Micro Business Pitch Competition and shared that he is looking forward to meeting the winners. Five winners will receive J$300,000 each, while the five runners-up will receive J$100,000.

Source: Our Today 


The Ministry

Welcome to the official website of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.

We have, therefore, placed much energy and enthusiasm into the development of this website to provide timely information on the Ministry, our agencies and programmes.


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