Government working to enhance competition among businesses

The exterior of Gordon House in Kingston, Jamaica (Photo: Dionne Jackson Miller, WordPress)

Work to further strengthen the local business environment to facilitate private-sector investments will continue under the Jamaica Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project, during the next fiscal year.

Approximately $972.5 million is earmarked in the 2020/212 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives, to finance the programmed engagements.

The project, which commenced in September 2014, aims to enhance competition in the business environment; facilitate strategic private investments; strengthen micro, small and medium-sized enterprises’ capabilities; and finance policy and societal learning through project implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Out-turns up to the end of December 2019 included: the disbursement of grants totalling $421 million to MSMEs, and 156 loans amounting to $2.42 billion to 135 MSMEs; completion of the National Investment Policy; and drafting, tabling and passage of the Special Economic Zone Act in both Houses of Parliament.

Activities being embarked on during 2020/21 include development of a platform for the National Spatial Plan.

An additional $650 million has been budgeted for the project during the 2021/22 fiscal year.

The project, which is slated for completion in June 2020, is being jointly implemented by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Planning Institute of Jamaica; Jamaica Promotions Corporation; and Development Bank of Jamaica, with World Bank funding.