Jamaica’s Peter Phillips: Small Businesses “Critical” to Economic Rebound

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - July 6, 2012

Above: Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips and Industry Minister Anthony Hylton (JIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s small business sector is a critical part of the country’s economic recovery, according to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.

The Minister said Jamaica’s government is committed to expanding micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.

“The most important thing about the MSME sector is that the bulk of the employment in the country comes from this sector,” he said.

Jamaica’s government is pursuing several initiatives on this front, he said, including work with the country’s Tax Policy Unit.

Some of those plans include the provision of what Phillips called “appropriate” credits for research and development and the application of innovations, training and “productivity-enhancing” measures.

“We consider it essential if we are to raise productivity in the country, and reward businesses for being innovative, that we need such a system of tax credits that will facilitate the essential modernization of industry,” Phillips said.

Within a few weeks, ministries including Finance, Industry and Justice will be making a joint submission to Jamaica’s cabinet aimed at streamlining the approvals process, along with reducing the cost of doing business in Jamaica for MSMEs and other businesses.

A World Bank report in 2011 ranked Jamaica eighth in the Caribbean for the ease of doing business.

“We don’t think it is necessary for anyone trying to establish a business to have to go to [different] places to get Taxpayer Registration Number, National Housing Trust arrangements, National Insurance Scheme arrangements and then the Companies Office of Jamaica to get your certificate of registration,” he said. “You should be able to go to one place and complete all the necessary prerequisites.”

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