Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Dr. Patrick Allen, has expressed confidence in the country’s ability to weather the current financial slump and to carve out a path towards economic recovery.
Citing a Caribbean business report, he said that despite the economic crisis, which has seen a 2.8 per cent fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of the year, job cuts, and businesses scaling back on operations, “companies have been posting handsome profits.”
“This is a testament to the acumen and abilities of Jamaican management,” Dr. Allen stated as he addressed the grand opening of FosRich Company Limited’s new store at 77-79 Molynes Road in Kingston on June 4.
“To me, that is a silver lining against the dark clouds of gloom and predicted economic collapse. It means that in spite of it all we are not so badly off, and if we just hang in there and fight back in spite of the odds, we can come out of this slump,” the Governor-General emphasised.
Noting the vital role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the development and economic growth of the country, the Governor-General stated that they help to keep the Jamaican economy afloat by providing employment, taxes and other contributions.
The SME sector, he noted further, is very resilient, with such operations making up approximately 90 per cent of the business economy; employing approximately 80 per cent of the workforce; and contributing approximately 50 per cent of GDP.
Citing the various initiatives put in place to nurture the sector, he mentioned the Small Business Procurement Policy, presented to Parliament in April this year, under which 15 per cent of Government contracts are reserved for SMEs.
He also pointed to the St. Catherine Parish Council’s provision of $4 million in grants to help small business persons in the parish to get involved in projects such as chicken farming, goat-rearing and tailoring.
These, he noted, are in addition to the International Development Bank (IDB) and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s (PSOJ) collaboration to make available US$739 million for a project to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Jamaican family-controlled micro, small and medium businesses.
In congratulating the General Manager of the FosRich Company, Cecil Foster on his new establishment, the Governor-General said that despite the current global economic crisis, the business owner has continued to successfully provide a service to his customers by supplying high-quality and affordable electrical material and equipment.
“He realises that if everybody sits back and waits for the economy to improve, there will be no improvement,” he noted, while urging the business and productive sectors to “rise up, take action and turn this economy around.”