Jamaican Business Climate to Receive a Boost

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July 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, July 28 2014 —Existing and new businesses operating in Jamaica will benefit from streamlined regulations and processes, public-private partnerships, as well as training and access to financing as a result of a US$ 50 million loan for the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project, approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors.

This project complements Jamaica’s fiscal and monetary measures by supporting efforts within the public sector to enhance competitiveness among Jamaican enterprises,” said Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Peter Phillips. “Creating the environment for innovation and enterprise will afford many vulnerable citizens real opportunities to earn their way out of poverty and marginalization.”

According to the 2014 World Bank “Doing Business” report, Jamaica ranked 23rd out of 189 economies in the category of starting a business, but is placed 168th in paying taxes. The cost for shipping a 20-foot container of goods from Kingston Port is estimated at US$ 1,530 compared to a Caribbean average of US$ 1,100 or US$ 630 in Dubai. However, the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016 and the Government of Jamaica’s Logistics Hub Initiative offer new opportunities for private sector-led growth.

“This project is an essential building block to boost Jamaica’s competitiveness and private sector development,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “By reducing the time needed to register a new business or obtain a construction permit, and providing access to training and credit, small businesses will be able to grow and large companies will be interested in making strategic investments.”

The Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project will:

  • Improve the business climate and reduce the cost of business transactions through the adoption of new business environment and pro-competition laws, regulations, codes, policies and streamlined administrative procedures;
  • Mobilize about US$ 250 million in private capital to support strategic investment projects, such as for the Logistics Hub Initiative, which will be key to generate long-term growth; and
  • Provide training and access to credit to benefit more than 300 small and medium enterprises.

This six-year project is financed by an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of US$ 50 million with a final maturity of 29.5 years and a 5.5-year grace period. It will be implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica in collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica and Jamaica Promotions Corporation, and falls within the commitment of the recently approved World Bank Group Country Partnership Strategy.

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