Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, speaking at a virtual meeting hosted by AMCHAM Jamaica, under the theme 'Creation of a ‘new normal’ - Getting back to business', at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Among the matters discussed was how businesses and countries prepare themselves to resume operations or identify new opportunities post Covid-19.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, is encouraging micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt the Ministry’s Business Continuity Plan aimed at mitigating against risks and failures.
“What is of grave concern is how prepared our businesses are to utilize the digital mode of operation. COVID-19 has put a wrench in the operation of many local businesses. Many lack the businesses continuity plan embedded with the adaptation of technology that would allow for their continued profitability and longevity. Businesses now need to focus some resources in this area,” he noted.
He informed that MSMEs are the economic engine of Jamaica’s economy and contributed $80.4 billion in revenue in 2018, accounting for 35% of jobs.
He was delivering remarks at a webinar hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, under the theme ‘Creation of a ‘new normal’ - Getting back to business’, at the Ministry’s St. Lucia Avenue offices on May 20.
Minister Shaw said that in recognising the importance of the MSME sector, the Government has set aside $800 million for COVID-19 Small Business grants to assist the sector.
“The measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 no doubt have had a serious impact on these businesses. So, even as we practise social distancing, and as the Prime Minister slowly-reopens the economy, let us all support our small businesses,” Shaw encouraged.
Regarding the agricultural sector, the minister said that the National Agribusiness Strategy plan aimed at growing the country’s agricultural sector through modernisation and diversification will depend on a robust ICT network.
“This Strategy will focus on introducing modern-day best practices in the sector to improve the skill set of workers, reduce operational cost and revamp the whole agricultural environment for businesses to operate, and ensure we step up the value-chain with an aggressive agro-industry sector,” the Minister added.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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