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Jamaica's ease of doing business rank improves

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative, Therese Turner-Jones, congratulates Jamaica on moving up to 58 from 94, in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. JIS photo Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative, Therese Turner-Jones, congratulates Jamaica on moving up to 58 from 94, in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. JIS photo
KINGSTON, Jamaica Oct. 29 - Members of the private sector and development partners are welcoming the news that Jamaica has made a remarkable leap in the just-released World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking, from 94 last year to 58, out of 189 countries.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, announced Jamaica’s improved ranking in the 2015 Doing Business Report, at a press conference held on Wednesday, October 29, at JAMPRO’S New Kingston headquarters.

Reacting to the report, Managing Director of the Jamaica Producers’ Group, Jeffrey Hall, said there is reason to celebrate.

“This is good news…there is a sense in which it is not news, because those of us who are on the ground doing business in Jamaica are feeling elements of a fresh wind blowing in relation to competitiveness already. What this does is put it in context,” he said.

Mr. Hall said the leap is the result of a wide range of measures that have been put in motion, in the macro-economic and legislative environments. He commended the executive branch of Government for giving effect to these measures, and the private sector for playing its part.

“There is commendation all around,” he remarked, pointing out that the improvements have been shown in specific areas, are the result of “genuine action”. These include: the just-passed insolvency bill; the incorporation of companies and ‘one stop shop’ concept; the single window at customs; the implementation of executive agency; new mandates with respect to construction permits; and titling reform, among others.

“I’m excited.  You can already see momentum (for the) concept of a logistics-centered economy and you will see it in manufacturing, investment, tourism, and the creative industries as well. For me, this is an important day,” Mr. Hall told the gathering of stakeholders.

Economic analyst, and Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Dennis Chung, also welcomed the improved ranking, and commended the Jamaican government on the reforms and various measures undertaken.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative, Therese Turner Jones, also lauded the achievement, stating that, “For every Jamaican, this is a very proud moment. There has been a lot of work done”.

She pointed to major reforms, such as those started with the $60 million IDB-funded Jamaica Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (JCEP), which Jamaica successfully completed.

Mrs. Turner Jones emphasised that the work done on tax reform; simplifying land titling; securing transactions; and the setting up of a collateral registry, among other measures, have been “extremely important in getting Jamaica to this point”.

She noted that with some of the reforms that have been carried out, not captured in this year’s report, it is expected that the country may see an improved ranking next year, when those are analyzed.

“The results are evident – this is an amazing moment, not to say there is not more work to do,” she said, adding, “now that you’re at 58, you don’t want to fall back”.

The IDB Representative said she is also impressed with Jamaica topping the ranking for most improved in doing business in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Chairman of JAMPRO, Milton Samuda described the dramatic movement in the World Bank ranking as something “seismic” having occurred, attributing it to the wide-ranging reforms that have been taking place, particularly in the area of legislation.

“It is all of these reforms and all the administrative inputs coming together and the international community taking note of it…it is great news for Jamaica, for the Ministry, JAMPRO, and for all the stakeholders,” he stated.

Mr. Samuda said that, “as we start to craft our way up these various indices, we have to be mindful that our next performance has to be better than our last, not only to maintain, but to advance”.

In the World Bank report, released today, Jamaica had the region’s highest ranking in ease of doing business. The report said that Jamaica is “closer than it was last year to global best practices in business regulation as measured by its distance to frontier ranking”.

It noted also that Jamaica is among the 50 per cent of Caribbean countries, which implemented a historical and cumulative total of 12 reforms, which make it easier for local entrepreneurs to do business.

The annual World Bank Group Doing Business report analyses regulations having to do with an economy’s businesses, including start-ups, trading across borders, taxes, and resolving insolvency.

Its key goal is to provide an objective basis for improving and understanding the regulatory environment for business around the world. This years’ report is the 12th edition of the series.

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