First Look


0 | 2019-04-18 16:02:00

President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Howard Mitchell, says that while it is commendable that interest rates have been lowered, more needs to be done to assist the smaller businesses in gaining financial access.

“We acknowledge that interest rates have been lowered considerably and credit is generally more available through the banking system for those local businesses whose financial affairs are organized and conform with international financial reporting standards,” Mitchell noted.

“Sadly though, those are not the businesses that need the credit, nor are they the ones that we need to encourage and empower so as to broaden our economic base and ensure inclusive growth.”

He was speaking at the Jamaica International Exhibition (JIE) Breakfast at the S Hotel in Montego Bay yesterday (April 16).

Mitchell said that except for Haiti, Jamaica has one of the lowest rates of financial access in the Caribbean Basin and Latin America, and greatly needs to do better if it intends to improve its economic situation.

“We in the private sector must urgently combine with the Government to improve financial access for our micro, small and medium size businesses and to raise their levels of financial education,” he added.

“And regarding credit access, is there some reason why the Exim Bank cannot get more capital to lend? For years, we have been pleading for more funds at lower rates for Exim to lend...for years all we have had is promises while other sectors get crazy money.”

He said that what is frustrating, is that other sectors which do not have the employment multiplier that manufacturing has are given preference, which he noted “defies logic.”

“Other sectors that do not have the foreign exchange retention rates that we’s just one of those things that make you scratch your head and wonder which planet it is that our policy makers come from,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell said the upcoming JIE tradeshow is a welcome boost for local businesses and should be given the support which “it richly deserves.”

“Hosting an exhibition is always a risky an exhibition and inviting foreigners is even more requires confidence in your products and a great dedication to excellence,” he noted.

“In the case of this second staging of the JIE trade show, both of those qualities are here in abundance...along with the energy and talent of your mostly ...young team.”

Mitchell added that at the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), where he is a director, “our business community is on a high of confidence that I have not seen for a very long time.”

He said that in moving around the Caribbean, Jamaica is talked about and congratulated every time “I speak to my counterparts” and “I am sure that several overseas visitors will come to this show just out of curiosity to see if the good things that they hear are true.”

Mitchell said that he has no doubt that this year’s exhibition will be the biggest and best yet and “I bring with me today the best wishes and full support of the PSOJ.”

The JIE, to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from May 30-June 1, is a biennial multi-sectoral trade show which provides a global marketplace for local products. It also offers an excellent opportunity for business to business exchanges and for enhancement of export and import opportunities with Jamaica’s global trading partners.

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