Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Commercial real estate rentals dip towards BPO pricing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Commercial-real-estate-rentals-dip-towards-BPO-pricing_77588 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com Business Process outsourcing (BPO) firms which often want to lease thousands in square footage for their operations are influencing commercialrenting rates, local realtors state.<br /> <br /> Premium locations which once attracted rates near the US$20 per square foot ballpark are now rolling back to between US$10 and US$15 per square foot as they seek to attract lessees who may take as much as 100,000 square feet for years running.<br /> <br /> Specifically, the decision by three business process outsourcing companies to expand in Jamaica is continuing to influence pricing in a lower direction, says President of La Maison property services group, Edwin Wint.<br /> <br /> He notes that property owners with space to rent are finding traction for warm shells &mdash; meaning space with all the amenities required already in place, and which attract as much as US$15 per square foot.<br /> <br /> Cold shells which must be retrofitted for use are renting for US$10 per square foot, he outlined.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, he noted that BPO companies are trying to secure space anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 square feet in Kingston and Montego Bay.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Depending on the quality of the facility, we are finding that owners are pricing to suit the BPO market for whom there is a certain price range set.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Most in demand, he said, are warm shells with air conditioning, suitable lighting and other amenities. The best, he said, are turnkey locations where operators can walk in and start.<br /> <br /> La Maison, he said, was searching for space on behalf of three already established BPO providers who are currently expanding. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a clear sign of growth,&rdquo; he commented.<br /> <br /> Among them, he said, were some who had also expressed interest in specially designed locations to be constructed in 2017.<br /> <br /> The names of the companies searching for new locations were not disclosed. However, several local companies said within the last month that they would be taking on large cohorts of new staff.<br /> <br /> These were Xerox International which advertised the need for 2,500 new workers, IBEX International which disclosed that it needed 400 workers and Sutherland Global which advertised for 1600 workers. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363592/196271_62267_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM JN members urged to vote &lsquo;yes&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/JN-members-urged-to-vote--yes-_77617 BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com Members of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) will in three weeks cast their votes on a proposal by the JNBS board of directors to convert the building society to a commercial bank and to restructure the JN Group. <br /> <br /> In a special general meeting on November 14, members of the Building Society are being urged to vote &ldquo;yes&rdquo; to the reorganisation of the JN Group, which if not performed, is deemed to compromise the long-term viability of the financial institution. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The building society structure affords us limited room to raise the funds we need to compete effectively and grow in the future. Moreover, as the present structure of the JN Group is not consistent with the Banking Services Act, it means that were the Society to continue under its current structure, it would be violating the law,&rdquo; chairman of JNBS, Oliver Clarke, stated in an adjoining message in a notice to the public entitled &lsquo;JN Moving Forward Together&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> The general meeting follows the approval of a commercial bank licence by the Bank of Jamaica, paving the way for JNBS to become the &ldquo;third -largest&rdquo; commercial bank in the island. Last month JNBS said it received an Order from the Supreme Court to summon a meeting of its members to vote on the proposed changes. <br /> <br /> Minister of Finance Audley Shaw said last month that the two new commercial licences for JNBS and Jamaica Money Market Brokers were in keeping with the new Government&rsquo;s policy of competitiveness in the financial sector.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I say to the commercial banks: &lsquo;look out&rsquo;, because I am pushing for competition,&rdquo; Shaw said, adding, the new banks would mean &ldquo;more competition and lower rates&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> While the the JNBS public notice does not make reference to the likely cost of loans, it does state that &ldquo;JN is committed to maintaining fees which are lower than those charged by other commercial banks and will seek to maintain this philosophy going forward. That is how the JN Group will pass meaningful benefits onto you its members&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Subsequent to approval by members, JNBS will return to the Supreme Court for a final decision, and if approved it will be signed by the minister of finance for the bank to commence operations as a commercial bank. <br /> <br /> Locally, the meetings are scheduled for Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland; Montego Bay, St James; Mandeville, Manchester; and Kingston; while overseas meetings will be held with JN members in London and Birmingham in the United Kingdom; Toronto, Canada; and Florida and New York in the United States of America. <br /> <br /> General manager of the financial institution, Earl Jarrett, said a series of meetings will be held with members locally and overseas to clarify or provide additional information about the process. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;These final meetings will ultimately position JN to respond to members&rsquo; demands for access to banking services with a more positive customer experience,&rdquo; Jarrett stated in a release from the financial institution. &ldquo;We anticipate that these changes will result in positive benefits to our members, as this will be a progressive move for JN and Jamaicans, locally and overseas,&rdquo; he continued. <br /> <br /> The building society stated that unlike other mutual organisations, under the proposed change JNBS will remain a mutual organisation owned by its members. It added that members&rsquo; mutual rights will be preserved in a new mutual holding company, which will own all the entities in the JN Group.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Unlike other mutual organisations, including those in the United Kingdom, your membership rights in the society will be retained in the new JN Group. In other words, you will continue to be a member of the mutual holding company which will own the JN Group.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Upon completion of the new Jamaica National, the building society says it will be fully compliant with Jamaican banking laws and says that it will provide access to a wide range of commercial banking products without high fees, while preserving mutuality and providing access to more benefits. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;In the final analysis, JN at 142 years old will become a more flexible and modern, fully Jamaican-owned financial institution. These changes will position its operations to achieve growth for Jamaicans here and in the Diaspora,&rdquo; Jarrett reasoned.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am heartened by the prospects for the new and emerging JN Group and the positive direction in which it will take all of us. Therefore, let us hold hands as we consolidate our movement and build a stronger JN family, to grow Jamaica National and grow Jamaica,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> As at March, JNBS held assets of $134.6 billion and holds representative offices in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada.<br /> <br /> The society is the parent of subsidiary companies JN Small Business Loans Limited, JN General Insurance Company Ltd, JN Fund Managers Ltd, JN Life Insurance Company Limited, JN Money Services Ltd, and Management Control Systems Ltd, and the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA)(Services) Ltd. <br /> <br /> The institution notes that following the transformation process, Manufacturers&rsquo; Credit and Information Services Ltd and JAA will merge into one company under the name JAA (Service) Ltd. The entity will undertake the marketing of the Advance card and fleet management services, along with any customer engagement. <br /> <br /> JN added that these services will accompany JAA&rsquo;s current services, which include emergency and roadside assistance, driving school, chauffeur services, and vehicle document renewal, among others. <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12959449/203237_62286_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Shaw reiterates calls for single-digit interest rates http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Shaw-reiterates-calls-for-single-digit-interest-rates_77591 BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com Minister of Finance Audley Shaw has reiterated calls for single-digit interest rates to have Jamaica return to a production culture, while providing more small and medium-sized businesses with access to credit.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The issue with us is that about 40 per cent of our economy is already deemed to be informal and that access to credit for small businesses has been relatively poor,&rdquo; Shaw stated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Only about 15 per cent of depositors are borrowing money for businesses. But there is the issue then of how can we ensure that we maintain a formal system and expand that formal system while getting access to small businesses,&rdquo; he continued. The minister was speaking at a joint Government of Jamaica and International Monetary Fund (IMF) press briefing recently. <br /> <br /> Shaw&rsquo;s response follows queries about the launch of a financial inclusion strategy by the Ministry of Finance, which seeks to provide affordable financial services such as credit, insurance and saving, particularly for disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. <br /> <br /> Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Brian Wynter noted, however, that the strategy will see the central bank working closely with the Development Bank of Jamaica to expand the partial credit guarantee programme to reach more small and medium-sized businesses. <br /> <br /> He added that other initiatives are underway and will be further highlighted as the bank addresses the Economic Growth Council&rsquo;s mandate, which seeks to prioritise some specific items in improving access to finance for SME&rsquo;s.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You cannot in terms of some of the microfinancing people &mdash; and we are not attacking them now &mdash; but there are certain types of business that you cannot borrow money and pay two per cent per week and it&rsquo;s a productive endeavour,&rdquo; Shaw said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;That&rsquo;s for buy and sell; we are talking about returning to a production culture, and if we are going to go to a production culture then all business people must be able to access credit at five, six and seven per cent &mdash; single-digit interest rates &mdash; and this is what our financial inclusion strategy is all about. We want to get cheap money into the hands of people who are serious about doing business.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Recently, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda urged financial institutions to offer four per cent loans to the agriculture workers in order to boost the ailing industry.<br /> <br /> He noted that the sector cannot hope to thrive at the pace necessary to get this economy growing unless the sector is offered single-digit interest rates. <br /> <br /> President and CEO of the Sagicor Group, Richard Byles, who is also co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, later knocked the plea of Samuda, stating that banks are also borrowers of money incurring administrative costs, including depositing cash at the Bank of Jamaica at zero earnings and purchasing Government securities at fairly low yields of five to six per cent.<br /> <br /> Nonetheless, the IMF has urged the Jamaican Government to establish a financial inclusion council as part of the efforts to achieve higher economic growth by, among other things, improving financial access.<br /> <br /> Noting that progress should be accelerated to lower the cost of doing business and support investment, the IMF said that given the high market concentration of the banking sector in Jamaica, where two banks hold more than 80 per cent of total assets, a thorough assessment should be conducted on the adequacy of competition in the banking sector. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13357347/234632_62287_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Global tech conference launches in Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Global-tech-conference-launches-in-Jamaica_77621 A new global conference and community platform in Jamaica will encourage relationships between tech entrepreneurs, investors and executives, and serve as a true business catalyst offering a more immersive experience for participants. <br /> <br /> Tech Beach Retreat is designed to connect the Caribbean&rsquo;s tech ecosystem with the rest of the world, creating an international community of like-minded individuals who meet in the region. The inaugural event from December 1 to 3 in Montego Bay offers something a little different &mdash; an all-inclusive experience; a single destination where speakers, participants and media meet free of hierarchy. <br /> <br /> The conference takes advantage of Jamaica&rsquo;s popular all-inclusive resort infrastructure, where guests pay a single fee and never have to worry about food and beverage. <br /> <br /> The concept is that with guests staying in a campus-style environment at the same resort, it will be easier for people to meet, exchange ideas and build meaningful long-term relationships. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I learned a long time ago that networking is not about how many people you can meet at an event; it&rsquo;s about access. You can walk away with 100 business cards from people who won&rsquo;t remember you or answer your emails, or you can make 10 meaningful connections with people who see your vision and want you to be successful,&rdquo;said Tech Beach Founder Kirk-Anthony Hamilton. <br /> <br /> A Jamaican entrepreneur, Hamilton has been recognised as one of 75 Emerging Global Entrepreneurs by US President Barack Obama and was also selected as one of 50 under-30 Global Shapers from around the world to participate in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for his work with &ldquo;The Destination Experience&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Hamilton partnered with Phin Mpofu, a fellow member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, to create Tech Beach. Mpofu is a UK-based tech entrepreneur who was recently recognised as one of 100 entrepreneurs to watch on the 2016 Maserati 100 list. He is also director at Startup Grind, the largest tech entrepreneur community in the world, with more than 400,000 members. <br /> <br /> Hamilton and Mpofu recruited Kyle Maloney from Trinidad and Tobago, one of the Caribbean&rsquo;s most promising tech entrepreneurs in the big data space. <br /> <br /> All three are passionate about diversity in the tech space, with the mission of making Tech Beach Retreat the most diverse tech gathering in the world across race, geographic location and gender. This is reflected in the growing roster of speakers who have signed on to participle in the conference. <br /> <br /> Speakers include: Paul Ahlstrom, Alta Growth Capital; Stephan Morais, executive board member, Caixa Capital &mdash; a US$750-million venture capital fund; Allison Kopf, CEO of Agrilyst &mdash; winner of Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2016; Will Hayes, president and CEO of Lucidworks; Ayori Selassie, senior solutions engineer at Salesforce, and many more regional and international experts. <br /> <br /> Guests are already confirmed from North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Tech Beach Retreat will focus on &lsquo;Exponential Growth and Impact: Designing your business to manage the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow and beyond&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The programme breaks this down into more specific pillars, like big data and security, diversity in tech, artificial intelligence, the shared economy and the future of payments. Tech Beach Retreat will also feature amazing entertainment, as one would expect in Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Tech Beach is officially endorsed by Jamaica Promotions Corporation and is sponsored by the Development Bank of Jamaica and Delta Airlines, amongst others. Opportunities are still available. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want to bring a global ecosystem of resources to the Caribbean, so we are welcoming participants from all over the world to join us for a one-of-a-kind experience and access to a unique international community of like-minded individuals,&rdquo; Hamilton said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363612/235162_62216_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363610/235164_62217_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Portland JSX Ltd reports profit of US$453,334 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Portland-JSX-Ltd-reports-profit-of-US-453-334_77500 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com Investment Fund Portland JSX Ltd reported profit of US$453,334 ($58 million) for the six months ending August 31, representing earnings per share of US$0.20 to date for the company.<br /> <br /> Portland JSX was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) earlier this year after an IPO garnering $1.5 billion &mdash; principally slated for PCF II &mdash; a private equity fund that holds a portfolio of equity and debt securities for companies located in Latin America and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Earnings for Portland JSX for the three months ended August 31, were US$414,403 on total revenue of US$484,820.<br /> <br /> Out of this revenue inflow US$366,532 came from net gains on financial assets, US$64,760 from interest from loans and receivables and US$53,820 from dividend income. <br /> <br /> Spending on administrative and general expenses was US$70,417. Earnings per share for the quarter was US$0.15.<br /> <br /> Total assets to August are reported at $25.89 million, up from US$13.82 million in February. Liabilities increased from US$39,518 to US$82,557 over the period, reflecting finance costs and payables.<br /> <br /> For the six-month period ended August, the company improved cash resources to US$21 million, up from US$10.5 million. Share capital stood at US$25.68 million, with remaining equity being US$125,729 in accumulated surplus.<br /> <br /> In addition to the IPO funding, Portland JSX was capitalised by a private placement in October 2015, raising $1.7 billion from several local and regional institutional investors. <br /> <br /> Global private equity investors in PCF II include International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank (EIB), German Development Bank (DEG), Export Development Canada (EDC), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).<br /> <br /> Investment deals disclosed include: funding of Panama Wind, a wind energy project in Panama; CFFI Ventures (Barbados) Inc &mdash; described as an opportunity which resulted from the Cable & Wireless and Columbus Communications merger; and Clarien Group Limited &ndash; the parent company of Clarien Bank Ltd, a Bermuda bank.<br /> <br /> The company is managed by the same team as Portland Private Equity which administered AIC Caribbean Fund that invested US$162 million and has returned US$374 million up to February this year, as reported in the February Prospectus.<br /> <br /> Portland Private Equity was created by investor and chairman Michael Lee-Chin. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12959789/201011_31920_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Caribbean utility regulators to meet http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Caribbean-utility-regulators-to-meet_77651 BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com Prime Minister Andrew Holness is slated to address the opening ceremony of the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators (OOCUR) 14th Annual Conference scheduled to be held at the Secrets Resorts in Montego Bay between October 26 and 28.<br /> <br /> Two members of the Holness-led Cabinet, Dr Horace Chang and Andrew Wheatley, are among the around 34 presenters who will address the conference.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Professor Hopeton Dunn and chairman of the Public Utilities Commission in the US Virgin Islands, Clent Denin, are also also down to address the three-day meeting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have regulators, economists and engineers from around the Caribbean, United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada coming to present under the theme: &ldquo;Regulations creating a spectrum of opportunities in the Caribbean&rdquo;, David Geddes, executive director of OOCUR, told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> Speaking to the Business Observer following yesterday&rsquo;s launch of the event at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay, St James, Geddes argued that &ldquo;very important for the conference is that regulators have to recognise their role as facilitating development in their respective countries and across the region as a whole&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Therefore, they (regulators) have to act as facilitators, while of course maintaining their regulatory authority, but they can&rsquo;t be an obstacle to economic growth; they must facilitate economic growth,&rdquo; Geddes argued.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we have the conference we will look at ways which they can fulfil that mandate.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363547/235215_62280_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Scotiabank stresses online security to clients http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Scotiabank-stresses-online-security-to-clients_77597 BY JOSIMAR SCOTT Observer writer Scotiabank, as part of its observation of Cyber Security Month, recently hosted a forum to address the issue of online security at the Scotiabank Centre under the theme &lsquo;Securing Your Finances in the Digital Age&rsquo;. <br /> <br /> With customers being the target of this initiative, Scotiabank&rsquo;s Manager, Forensics Leighton Mitchell cautioned the audience to have better control of personal information, while warning them of the dangers lurking online, among them phishing, malware and identity theft. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t randomly share your name and e-mail address. Any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual&rsquo;s identity, such as name, date and place of birth, mother&rsquo;s maiden name; or information linked to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial and employment information, should be protected,&rdquo; Mitchell warned.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Requests for details on your tax registration number, credit card number or bank account should be corroborated. This is the information fraudsters use to defraud you,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> The gathering, which included SME customers, were informed of the various schemes affecting Jamaica&rsquo;s financial sector and the strategies being employed to ensure the protection of client information and funds.<br /> <br /> Just last month the Jamaica Observer reported that at least 20 individuals were defrauded, having used automated banking machines (ABMs). The report, &lsquo;NCB will compensate customers affected by ABM fraud&rsquo;, indicates that at least two National Commercial Bank (NCB) ABMs were compromised by the activities of fraudsters.<br /> <br /> To alleviate the situation, NCB posted a five-minute video, titled &lsquo;ABM fraud - tips for protecting card&rsquo;, advising customers how to protect their personal information number (PIN) and detailing the tactics used by the criminals to ascertain customers&rsquo; information and siphon funds from their accounts.<br /> <br /> At that time Scotiabank&rsquo;s Public & Corporate Affairs Manager Hope MacMillan revealed to the Business Observer that &ldquo;this is one of the reasons why we will be hosting an in-branch educational seminar to talk about how customers can protect their accounts&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The Caribbean Business Report on Friday, October 7, also reported that banks, including Scotiabank Jamaica and NCB, united in partnership to combat ABM scams and raise awareness about online security.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Always remember that Scotiabank will never send you unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information such as password, PIN, access code, credit card and account numbers,&rdquo; Scotiabank&rsquo;s forensic manager pointed out. &ldquo;We will never ask you to validate or restore your account access through e-mail or pop-up windows.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mitchell urged clients to protect PINs and passwords, including on wireless modem; use encryption, anti-virus and personal firewall; and to install reliable anti-malware. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12524011/177362_62253_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Sagicor Group &ndash; enhancing the nation&rsquo;s health http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Sagicor-Group---enhancing-the-nation-s-health-_77560 BY MOSES JACKSON On a Sunday morning in February, 25,000 Jamaicans decked out in running gear queue along Kingston&rsquo;s main thoroughfare in anticipation of one of the city&rsquo;s signature events. <br /> <br /> The starter gun goes off, animating the massive crowd. The annual Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run is on and adrenalised competitors are on the hustle. <br /> <br /> In unison, runners of all ages, creed and physical attributes head north along Knutsford Boulevard, creating a truly breathtaking spectacle.<br /> <br /> The elite athletes among their ranks announce their presence by immediately moving into lead positions. This small group means business: they are in the hunt for top places at the finish line and the permanent bragging rights that go with it.<br /> <br /> For the vast majority, the gruelling if prestigious three-mile race is an opportunity to be part of a larger-than-life experience.<br /> <br /> It would come as no surprise if, given the choice of a single event on which to stake their claim to good corporate citizenship, most companies would find in this charity project a standout candidate.<br /> <br /> From its introduction in 1999, raising public awareness of urgent health issues of the day has been, for Sagicor, not just a by-product of its coveted franchise, but its core mission. The stupendous crowds it consistently attracts demonstrate that this message is resonating with ordinary Jamaicans, and the fact that some 200 corporations are on board is further validation that this is a mission whose time has come.<br /> <br /> Over the past 10 years, the Sigma Corporate Run has raised $204 million for good causes &ndash; most of this money helping to save lives or improve medical outcomes at hospitals and other health facilities throughout Jamaica. Yet, if there is a more compelling subtext to this already remarkable achievement, it is the way in which this charity programme has evolved into a veritable vehicle for mass mobilisation of public goodwill. <br /> <br /> The Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run is not just an indulgence in physical exercise &ndash; as important as this may be. It has become a source of inalienable empowerment for participants. It creates space for thousands of Jamaicans from all walks of life to participate in philanthropic outreach. The road run is a point in time when the old, the young, the rich and poor are buoyed by the certainty that they are contributing to causes that are beyond their own narrow self-interests.<br /> <br /> Sagicor itself acknowledges the breadth of the impact in responding to queries submitted by the Business Leader Award programme. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Through the campaign built around the Sigma Run, our largest charitable event, organisations or individuals have received increased exposure through the media which has led to more funding,&rdquo; the company explains, citing the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation as an example of an institution whose public profile has been enhanced by the annual road run. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;They were a relatively unknown organisation when we started working with them,&rdquo; the race promoter continues, &ldquo;but they are now receiving donations and help from international entities.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The case that has been the subject of intense media attention is that of an infant cancer survivor by the name of Rusheka Goodhall. A beneficiary of the Sigma 2016 race, she was quite literally the poster child for the event &ndash; her ubiquitous image becoming a symbol of the country&rsquo;s urgent needs and the power of collective action to address them.<br /> <br /> A positive postscript to this story is that Rusheka, having caught the attention of an overseas benefactor, has been offered a trip abroad for a prosthetic leg.<br /> <br /> The success that this franchise has sustained for 17 years has not come easy. Organisationally, it&rsquo;s a complex and mammoth undertaking that each year requires the effort of 2,000 members of staff and outside volunteers to pull off. <br /> <br /> Thanks to their unflinching dedication and spirit of volunteerism, from a purely organisational point of view this has been an unqualified success story; one important measure is the positive demonstration effect that the project has had right across Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Many of the organisations and individuals who have followed in the trailblazing footsteps of Sagicor in organising their own versions of road runs are not dissimilar in their motivation. They, too, want to raise funds and draw public attention to the issues and challenges that vivify them.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sagicor, especially Sigma Run, has inspired so many other institutions to get involved in fund-raising,&rdquo; the company notes in a subtle acknowledgement of its pioneering status. &ldquo;When Sigma Run started, there were no other events of its kind in the country and now there are at least 20 running events every year. This is encouraged as it means there are now a number of charities and institutions benefiting from these events that didn&rsquo;t exist before.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The proliferation of road runs all over the island has had the effect of advancing another of Sagicor&rsquo;s core values as a life insurance company and promoter of good health &ndash; it has awakened public consciousness to the virtues of physical fitness. This has been a most welcome development in a country that is yet to fully come to terms with a worrisome trend line in its national health indices &ndash; a steady rise in obesity and other chronic lifestyle illnesses.<br /> <br /> While the annual pilgrimage to New Kingston ranks among Jamaica&rsquo;s best-known and most participant-rich philanthropic activities, it is by no means the only manner in which the financial-led conglomerate engages corporate social responsibility.<br /> <br /> On the contrary, over the past 10 years this corporation has dipped directly into its bank account, withdrawing $335 million to support the projects to which it is committed.<br /> <br /> All that spending was done directly by and through the Sagicor Group until last year when the directors moved forward with plans that had been on the drawing board to formally register the Sagicor Foundation as the vehicle for future social interventions.<br /> <br /> The directors believe the foundation has given their company the added ability to promote volunteerism among the more than 1,000-strong workforce and engender workplace esprit de corps.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We also found that a corporate foundation such as the Sagicor Foundation is a great way to get members of the community involved in charitable projects,&rdquo; the company argues in its memo to the Business Leader programme. &ldquo;Furthermore, formalising and establishing the Sagicor Foundation was considered to be a great tool to get employees involved in the communities in which we operate. Since the official launch of the foundation, we have seen where we have been building camaraderie within the company as employees work together on charitable projects. Working on these projects is also sure to boost employee morale, which enhances employee satisfaction while making a positive difference in the community.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The Sagicor Foundation has a four-member board chaired by R Danny Williams, who is a former chairman of the Sagicor Jamaica main board. The company&rsquo;s CEO Richard Byles, as well as a non-executive director Stephen Facey are directors of the philanthropic arm, so too is Chantal Hylton-Tonnes who serves as an independent member. The executive director is Ingrid Card, who is also group vice-president of marketing at the parent company.<br /> <br /> The Sagicor Group has an enlightened boardroom approach to how decisions are made about the value of its annual charitable expenditure, setting aside between one and three per cent of net profit &ndash; in addition to funds earned from the Sigma Run &ndash; to cover the work of the foundation.<br /> <br /> Importantly, the board, as a policy, allows itself the flexibility of being persuaded by the foundation&rsquo;s staff to approve additional expenditure if there is a compelling case to be made.<br /> <br /> Health, sports, education and community development are the broad priority areas that have claimed the bulk of the $540 million that the company spent on good causes in the past 10 years &ndash; including the $150 million that was spent last year alone.<br /> <br /> With 17 years of intervention in Jamaica&rsquo;s health sector, Sagicor is able to compile a charity list that is exhaustive and reads like pages ripped from a medical encyclopaedia. <br /> <br /> In 2016, the company turned its attention to Children with Cancer Across Jamaica, Jamaica Cancer Society and the Black River Hospital Paediatric Unit. Last year, the target was the Cornwall Regional Hospital Neonatal Unit and the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation.<br /> <br /> Other beneficiaries: <br /> <br /> &bull; University Hospital of the West Indies Special Care Unit, UWI Sickle Cell Trust, Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation<br /> <br /> &bull; Jamaica National Children&rsquo;s Home, Best Care Lodge and Bustamante Hospital<br /> <br /> &bull; Chain of Hope Jamaica in support of the cardiac programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children<br /> <br /> &bull; Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Neonatal Care Unit<br /> <br /> &bull; Sir John Golding Rehab, Jamaica Society for the Blind and Jamaica Association for the Deaf.<br /> <br /> Sagicor has been able to directly trace its act of charity to actual human lives that have been saved. Take the case of the Special Care Nursery at the University of the West Indies. This facility was outfitted with breathing circuits, expiratory and inspiratory filters, as well as two Newport ventilator systems &ndash; critical equipment that have given many premature babies a shot at survival. The outcomes would be similar at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital which tripled the capacity of its neonatal unit with the donation from Sagicor.<br /> <br /> Here is how the company puts it: &ldquo;In many instances, the need, particularly among health beneficiaries of the Sigma Run, has been so dire prior to our involvement that we have been able to easily identify the number of children that have survived near-death experiences after the respective organisations receive the equipment donations.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Sagicor says the foundation&rsquo;s priorities are guided by the belief that &ldquo;programmes built around health, education and sports are fundamental to the total well-being and development of our children and communities&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The company&rsquo;s approach to sports donation is reflective of this basic mantra, starting its sponsorship programme at the entry level &ndash; a group that the foundation calls &ldquo;the early risers at the primary level&rdquo; &ndash; and continuing all the way up to participants at the high school national championships.<br /> <br /> In addition, some 200 outstanding secondary and tertiary students are awarded scholarships each year by the foundation, while more than 500 students are impacted through its Adopt-A-School Programme that is tailored for early childhood institutions. Then there is its own company scholarship initiative for the primary school level children of members of staff. Two thousand of them having benefited over the 25 years of its existence.<br /> <br /> Last year, Sagicor initiated a national drive to spread its message of giving back. The company used its 45th anniversary as the springboard for this initiative, urging Jamaicans to nominate &ldquo;a charity, person or community to receive an act of kindness from Sagicor&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We wanted to get our clients and the wider Jamaica involved in giving back,&rdquo; the company says. <br /> <br /> In line with the anniversary theme, 45 submissions were selected and presented with donations at a special ceremony. They include: Great Pond High School, Silverstone Basic School, Pembroke Hall Primary School, Covenant City Church, Heartease United Youth Club, The Women&rsquo;s Resource and Outreach Centre, Mensana, Tredegar Park All-Age School, and Faith Temple Open Bible Church.<br /> <br /> In offering a guide to those seeking to benefit from its philanthropy, Sagicor stresses the importance of presenting proposals that are within the foundation&rsquo;s priority area and which will improve the &ldquo;quality of life for the community and its citizens&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Additionally, prospective beneficiaries must be of proven integrity, ideally should have a project that will serve many individuals, and generally be of such quality that the gift will enable Sagicor to &ldquo;fulfil our role as a good corporate citizen&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Moses Jackson is the founder of the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Award programme and the chairman of the Award Selection Committee. He may be reached at<br /> <br /> moseshbsjackson@yahoo.com<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363455/235178_62232_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363453/235176_62231_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363452/235179_62233_repro_w300.jpg Business Leader Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 AM BOJ sets overnight rate at 3%; seeks to rein in money market rates http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/BOJ-sets-overnight-rate-at-3---seeks-to-rein-in-money-market-rates_77038 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has started transitioning its policy rate to an overnight interest rate, replacing use of the benchmark 30-day certificate of deposit (CD).<br /> <br /> On September 1, the Bank increased the rate on the overnight deposit from 0.25 per cent to 3.0 per cent.<br /> <br /> Local bankers who have declined to discuss the impact on their operations nevertheless noted that the move is consistent with what already obtains in many other countries across the globe, as the central bank adjusts its initial interest rate corridor (IRC) as a route to tighter monetary policy.<br /> <br /> An IRC is a system for guiding short-term market interest rates towards the central bank target/policy rate.<br /> <br /> It is made up of the rate at which the central bank lends to banks (typically an overnight lending rate) and a rate at which it takes deposits from them (deposit rate).<br /> <br /> The IRC system is intended to help ensure that money market interest rates stay within close range around the policy rate.<br /> <br /> The BOJ, in its notice of the changes to local financial institutions, said actions to be taken over a six-month period from September 1 include changes in the frequency of the offer of the 30-day instrument. <br /> <br /> Effective October 3, the bank began to offer 30-day CDs in unlimited amounts on three days of the week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Additionally, the 365-day CD, issued by competitive multiple-price auctions resumed once weekly.<br /> <br /> The BOJ said what will follow will be adjustment to the volume, frequency and price determination of the 30-day instrument.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;At the end of the process, the 30-day rate will cease being the bank&rsquo;s policy rate,&rdquo; it said, adding that changes in the stance of monetary policy will thereafter be signalled by changes in the overnight deposit rate.<br /> <br /> The central bank asserted that the new overnight rate reflected &ldquo;interest rate neutrality relative to the current signal rate of five per cent payable on 30-day CDs&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The BOJ said its motivation was to strengthen the relationship between the policy rates and money market interest rates and effect more direct linkage to inflation.<br /> <br /> In this instance, the central bank noted that, the IRC is defined using the overnight tenor for central bank instruments, with the overnight deposit rate forming the floor of the IRC and the interest rate on the Standing Liquidity Facility (SLF) serving as the ceiling of the IRC.<br /> <br /> The width of the IRC will be determined by the interest spread for accessing liquidity through the SLF.<br /> <br /> The BOJ said that following the completion of these adjustments, the bank may effect &ldquo;further changes as deemed appropriate to define a suitable width for the IRC for Jamaica&rsquo;s monetary policy system&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> It also noted that the current provision of short-term liquidity through competitive multiple-price auctions will remain as a part of the monetary policy framework. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12771122/191714_62256_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363450/170955__w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Revenues climb as Knutsford Express introduces non-stop trips http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Revenues-climb-as-Knutsford-Express-introduces-non-stop-trips_77249 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com Knutsford Express Services Ltd indicated that for the first quarter ending August 31, the company is reaping the results of new additions to its schedule in the form of higher revenue flows.<br /> <br /> Revenue climbed 21 per cent for the company from $143 million in the same period last year to $173 million this year.<br /> <br /> Directors said that the higher passenger flows resulted from the decision to add more trips with the completion of the North-South Highway and the addition of four luxury coaches to it fleet. These included non-stop trips between Kingston and Montego Bay.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The expanded service schedule&hellip; has allowed us to increase customer comfort and convenience,&rdquo; directors said, noting in the quarter&rsquo;s financials that although profit remained flat year-on-year, this was due to expenses involved in improving fleet and adding to human resources.<br /> <br /> Expenses increased by $30 million, resulting in net profit of $36 million, when compared to $35.7 million in first quarter 2015. The money, the directors said, was mainly spent on adding to parts inventory, supplies and human resources to support the expanded routes.<br /> <br /> The company closed the quarter with reduced cash on hand of $39.9 million, down from $66.87 million last year.<br /> <br /> Assets increased in value by 35.5 per cent to $462 million in August, coming from $341 million in August 2015. For this first quarter, the annualised return on average equity was four per cent and earnings per share was $0.36.<br /> <br /> The company&rsquo;s stock, listed on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), traded at $23.20 per unit on Friday, a 141.67 per cent increase in value year over year. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363439/234502_62251_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Noranda files motion to dismiss bankruptcy cases http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Noranda-files-motion-to-dismiss-bankruptcy-cases_77529 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com Sources close to Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation (Noranda) said Friday that it should be a matter of months before the company concludes operations as a corporate entity, given that principal assets are likely to be in the hands of new owners by year end.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It will just be a matter of selling items like furnishings, doing tax returns and other administrative duties,&rdquo; the source said, referring to final actions to be taken.<br /> <br /> Noranda also announced that it has filed a motion to dismiss its chapter 11 cases and requested that a hearing on such motion be scheduled for October 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> The motion followed the announcement that Noranda had entered into an asset purchase agreement with an affiliate of DADA Holdings LLC, under which DADA&rsquo;s affiliate, New Day Aluminum LLC, will serve as the &ldquo;stalking horse&rdquo; bidder in a court-supervised sale process for Noranda&rsquo;s alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, and bauxite mining operation in St Ann, Jamaica.<br /> <br /> DADA is described as a management company consisting of the former senior management team of Wise Metals Group LLC, which was sold to Constellium NV in January 2015.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer was advised that the bid was subject to higher or better bids with an auction scheduled to take place on October 18, while a hearing to approve a sale is scheduled for today, October 19, 2016.<br /> <br /> In a release on Friday, October 14, it was noted that in connection with the global settlement agreement and dismissal of the chapter 11 cases, it was expected that the company&rsquo;s secured lenders will appoint an advisor to oversee the distribution of Noranda&rsquo;s remaining assets and the completion of business activities following the conclusion of the court-supervised restructuring process.<br /> <br /> The global settlement agreement remains subject to court approval at a hearing scheduled for October 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> Noranda already sold facilities in New Madrid, Missouri, to ARG International AG, and its Downstream Business to Gr&Atilde;&curren;nges AB.<br /> <br /> Gr&Atilde;&curren;nges AB secured the winning bid for foil operations for US$324.2 million on a cash and debt-free basis. ARG received court approval for New Madrid following an offer of US$13.7 million. <br /> <br /> The Business Observer understands that the offer made for Gramercy and St Ann operations is US$21 million.<br /> <br /> With debts of more than US$1 billion, and just south of US$400 million offered by asset hunters, it is likely that creditors will only receive cents on the dollar in terms of debt owed.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;That is just a part of the bankruptcy process,&rdquo; the source commented. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13333211/232524_62250_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Weekend of events for Sagicor Inspire Project participants http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Weekend-of-events-for-Sagicor-Inspire-Project-participants_77614 Sagicor Group Jamaica is adding a new dimension to how corporate companies invest in Jamaica&rsquo;s future by using its Inspire Project to focus on tertiary students who exhibit admirable leadership potential and academic prowess.<br /> <br /> This weekend, October 21-23, Sagicor Group Jamaica stages its first motivational event, exclusively for tertiary level students performing at the highest level. <br /> <br /> The aim is to engage young, future leaders across Jamaica in a series of exhilarating activities designed for their holistic development. In this the inaugural year, the students will gather at the Hilton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, for a weekend of great empowerment. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have been thinking about ways to engage Generation S, but we wanted to ensure that it was done right, so when the idea was conceptualised in one of our team marketing meetings, we knew that it would be a definite fit for the Sagicor brand,&rdquo; said Vice-President of Marketing Ingrid Card via news release.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We wanted an initiative that would encourage students to embody goals and attitudes that will lead to personal growth and professional discipline,&rdquo; she added. <br /> <br /> Approximately 150 students will participate in an event-filled weekend starting Friday.<br /> <br /> Friday&rsquo;s activities will begin with a &lsquo;power hour&rsquo; rap session, where members of the Sagicor Group Jamaica leadership team will share stories of success with pockets of students scattered across the Hilton Property. The night will end with &ldquo;Exhale&rdquo;, the welcome cocktail reception on the beach outfitted with fire pits and a special surprise to intensify the night&rsquo;s proceedings.<br /> <br /> Saturday morning will start with an exercise session on the beach with Karelle Ashley designed to revitalise and kick-start the day, after which they will be engaged in all-day sessions with speakers such as Sagicor&rsquo;s Top Advisor Loeri Robinson, motivational speaker Michael Maragh, lifestyle doyenne Novia McDonald-Whyte, and Season 4 Apprentice winner, Randal Pinkett. That night will be capped off with &ldquo;ELEVATE&rdquo; inside the Cricket Club featuring DJ Smoke.<br /> <br /> The weekend will culminate on Sunday morning, when students will meet Sagicor&rsquo;s President & CEO, Richard Byles, for a motivational breakfast session where he will field questions and share his life lessons as a successful businessman.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363410/235157_62241_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Importing and clearing personal imports http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Importing-and-clearing-personal-imports_77647 Traditionally, Jamaicans travelling from overseas bring back personal items or gifts for families and friends. Some passengers pack these items in their luggage, while others pack and send them in barrels, boxes or other packages through the air, sea ports, or post office.<br /> <br /> What is required for clearing personal items via the air, sea ports, and post office?<br /> <br /> CLEARING PERSONAL IMPORTS VIA AIRPORT<br /> <br /> All passengers 18 years and older, are entitled to US$500 duty-free allowance on personal and household effects not for resale or commercial use. This means that no Customs duties, taxes or fees will be charged on items that are at or below this amount.<br /> <br /> Passengers with unaccompanied baggage (that is baggage/goods sent via air or sea to the passenger two months before or after travel) must indicate same to the Customs officer prior to the examination of the baggage. The Customs officer will conduct the examination and complete the Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration (Form C27)/Yellow Form.<br /> <br /> If the passenger uses only a portion or all of the US$500 allowance, then the Customs officer will indicate on the form that full allowance was given or the amount of the duty free allowance utilised. Once there is an allowance remaining, the passenger will utilise the balance to clear any unaccompanied baggage. <br /> <br /> NOTE: The &lsquo;Yellow Form&rsquo; is valid for the clearance of goods that arrive in the island two months before, or after the passenger.<br /> <br /> CLEARING PERSONAL SHIPMENTS<br /> <br /> Goods with a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of more than US$5,000 must be cleared by a licensed customs broker.<br /> <br /> Documents required for clearing shipments include: <br /> <br /> &bull; Tax Registration Number (TRN)<br /> <br /> &bull; Valid Identification (driver&rsquo;s licence, passport or voter&rsquo;s/national ID).<br /> <br /> &bull; The passenger must present the passport/receipt from the kiosk in the immigration hall at the airport if the yellow form is used.<br /> <br /> &bull; Invoice<br /> <br /> &bull; Bill of lading or air way bill<br /> <br /> &bull; C27 (unaccompanied declaration form)<br /> <br /> &bull; C86 (goods declaration form)<br /> <br /> Steps for clearing shipments are:<br /> <br /> 1. Collect shipping documents from the shipping agent and pay the relevant handling and/or freight charges.<br /> <br /> 2. Proceed to the warehouse where the shipment is stored and pay the relevant handling and storage fees.<br /> <br /> 3. If the importer or passenger has an unaccompanied declaration form (C27/yellow form) this must be presented to the Customs supervisor for verification.<br /> <br /> 4. Once the shipment is located, the Customs officer will request that the consignee (or the individual acting on the authority of the consignee) opens the shipment for examination.<br /> <br /> 5. Following examination, the Customs officer will value the goods and advise of the applicable customs duties and fees to be paid.<br /> <br /> 6. Duties and fees must be paid to the customs cashier at the location.<br /> <br /> 7. After duties and fees are paid, the importer is issued with a release order. This is to be presented to the warehouse Operator who will issue a gate pass.<br /> <br /> 8. Proceed to the delivery area with the gate pass (and vehicle if necessary), to collect the shipment.<br /> <br /> GOODS BEING RECEIVED VIA THE POST OFFICE<br /> <br /> Packages may be sent via the post office. It is important that persons sending packages ensure that they include the invoice(s) along with the items to assist with the assessment of the items.<br /> <br /> Was your package detained by Jamaica Customs?<br /> <br /> First, you will receive an advisory from Jamaica Post stating the reason for the detention and the documents you are required to submit to allow for clearance.<br /> <br /> NOTE: If the postal address on the package is outside of Kingston (Central Sorting Office), it will be sent to the local post office address provided.<br /> <br /> Required documents:<br /> <br /> &bull; Government-issued identification (passport, national ID, driver&rsquo;s licence)<br /> <br /> &bull; Permit/licence, where applicable<br /> <br /> &bull; Invoice<br /> <br /> &bull; TCC (Tax Compliance Certificate)<br /> <br /> &bull; Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN)<br /> <br /> &bull; Charity certificate (where applicable)<br /> <br /> Procedures:<br /> <br /> &bull; Submit the required documents to the Central Sorting Office (Kingston) either:<br /> <br /> &bull; Personally<br /> <br /> &bull; Fax: 967-1666<br /> <br /> &bull; Email: info@jamaicapost.gov.jm<br /> <br /> &bull; Pay the import duty to the cashier at the post office where the package is stored.<br /> <br /> &bull; Collect the package.<br /> <br /> Contact: Jamaica Customs Agency, Myers&rsquo; Wharf, Newport East, Kingston 15. Telephone: 922-5140-8<br /> <br /> Toll free: 1-888-CUSTOMS (1-888-287-8667). Email: public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm<br /> <br /> Website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363539/235221_62281_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM What is your sales strategy? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/What-is-your-sales-strategy-_77600 with Herman Alvaranga Steph, our sales manager, was prepared to turn everything on its head because she knew that whatever she had been doing would never meet her aggressive revenue targets. Her next scheduled meeting with management was four days away and she wanted to impress. <br /> <br /> As she contemplated an approach to creating a powerful sales force she recalled that there were four levels of strategy: corporate, business, marketing and sales strategies. Aaaaahhhhh. Sales strategy! Shouldn&rsquo;t developing the sales strategy be the number one priority for a sales manager? But what&rsquo;s a sales strategy? Steph needed to know. <br /> <br /> WHAT IS A SALES STRATEGY?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A sales strategy defines who a company&rsquo;s customers and prospects are, what the value proposition is, and how the selling is done. It articulates the communication and activities that need to take place between the company and its customers and prospects with the goal of understanding customer needs and how the company&rsquo;s products create value by meeting those needs.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &mdash; Zoltners, Sinha and Lorimer (2012)<br /> <br /> Not satisfied, Steph wanted to know what a successful sales strategy should accomplish and how to develop one. <br /> <br /> WHAT A SALES STRATEGY SHOULD DO <br /> <br /> Here&rsquo;s a short list of what your sales strategy should do for you: <br /> <br /> o Focus sales force attention on attractive market segments.<br /> <br /> o Tailor value propositions to the specific needs of each of these market segments.<br /> <br /> o Help with developing beneficial business relationships. <br /> <br /> o Shift the selling focus from price to value<br /> <br /> o Increase sales relative to the competition.<br /> <br /> DEVELOPING A SALES STRATEGY<br /> <br /> Here are three steps to developing a sales strategy:<br /> <br /> 1. Understand your customers and their needs and then segment them. <br /> <br /> Sales managers must accurately estimate the potential of each account so that they can adequately allocate scarce resources. By the way, we never recommend classifying customers A, B, C or D. Why? Because some customers find it offensive. Instead, adapting the BCG model, we prefer classifying accounts as: Star, Strategic, Status or Streamline, and then use this as a guide for allocating human and other resources to achieve optimal results.<br /> <br /> 2. Carefully articulate a value proposition for each of these customer segments. <br /> <br /> Always remember that most customers attach greater value when they believe that proposed offerings are customised specifically for them. What&rsquo;s even better is effectively communicating the value, proving it and continuously reinforcing it. <br /> <br /> 3. Find the most effective way of communicating the value of the products that you are offering each customer segment. <br /> <br /> Shrewd sales managers never forget that the major source of value for most customers is from the product itself. But there are some value enhancers that have proven to be very useful. Let&rsquo;s look at a few value-enhancing services that customers love:<br /> <br /> o Delivery: Critical for both tangible goods as well as services. Just think about how your customers feel when your company exceeds expectations. Does your sales strategy facilitate this?<br /> <br /> o In-person sales calls that provide valuable expertise. Steph knew the value of this because her customers were always happy when she, or another expert, would explain complex financial matters in simple language that they all could understand. And here&rsquo;s an important reminder: the best of us never sell ourselves. Instead we make customers want us!<br /> <br /> o Customer training:Steph wondered out loud whether her institution was effectively training their customers in how to use their new automated system, because the adoption rate was just too low. Was it too complex for most people, and did they need more training in its use and applications to get on board? How important, really, is the matter of customer training in your context? Does it assist them in making better decisions using your products or services more often?<br /> <br /> BASKET TO CARRY WATER?<br /> <br /> On reflection, Steph, the sales manager, recognised that not just her business unit, but the entire company needed to develop, articulate and implement a comprehensive sales strategy, for the practice of giving each business unit aggressive sales targets and one day of sales training would never be enough. <br /> <br /> With only 20 per cent of its sales force meeting their targets, the company needed a sales strategy that facilitated success. Time to stop giving its salespeople a basket to carry water!<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13204446/221454_62170_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Ernst and Young to pay US$11.8m over failed audits http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Ernst-and-Young-to-pay-US-11-8m-over-failed-audits_77595 WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Global accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay US$11.8 million to resolve allegations it failed to uncover deceptive tax practices at an oil services company, the US market regulator announced yesterday.<br /> <br /> The announcement follows last month&rsquo;s settlement between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the oilfield services firm Weatherford International, which the SEC fined US$140 million for fraudulently lowering its year-end tax provisions.<br /> <br /> The SEC said Tuesday that Ernst & Young, one of the global &ldquo;big four&rdquo; accounting firms, had failed to detect the fraud for more than four years. Since 2013, Ernst & Young has also been known by its global brand name, EY.<br /> <br /> Craig Fronckiewicz, the Ernst & Young partner who coordinated the audits, and Sarah Adams, a former tax partner who was part of the audit team, both agreed to suspensions from handling the accounting of SEC-regulated firms to settle charges of having ignored &ldquo;significant red flags&rdquo; during the Weatherford audits and reviews, the SEC said in a statement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The audit team was aware of post-closing adjustments that Weatherford was making to significantly lower its year-end provision for income taxes each year, but it relied on Weatherford&rsquo;s unsubstantiated explanations instead of performing the required audit procedures to scrutinise the company&rsquo;s accounting,&rdquo; the SEC said in a statement.<br /> <br /> Ernst & Young, which reached the settlement without admitting or denying the SEC&rsquo;s allegations, will pay $10.8 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and a penalty of $1 million. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13364180/235104_62159_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Justin Trudeau &mdash; the key issues in his first year in office http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Justin-Trudeau---the-key-issues-in-his-first-year-in-office_77520 MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) &mdash; Justin Trudeau&rsquo;s come-from-behind win in an October 19 General Election last year brought an end to 10 years of Conservative rule and set Canada on a liberal path. Here are the major issues he and his party have tackled over the past year.<br /> <br /> ENVIRONMENT<br /> <br /> With little time after its election to formulate a new policy ahead of last year&rsquo;s Paris climate summit, the Trudeau Government adopted the previous Administration&rsquo;s target for reducing Canada&rsquo;s greenhouse gas emissions. Ottawa ratified the accord in October 2016, but its commitment to reduce emissions by 30 percent, (compared with 2005 levels) by 2030, has been panned by environmental activists and deemed by experts to be unrealistic. After failing to obtain consensus from the provinces on how to proceed, Trudeau threatened to impose a national carbon price by 2018. At the same time, Trudeau has expressed support for construction of new pipelines in order to export crude from the Alberta oil sands &mdash; the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions in Canada.<br /> <br /> FIGHTING THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP<br /> <br /> After following through with a campaign pledge to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from a US-led coalition bombing the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, the Trudeau Government tripled the Canadian contingent of special forces troops in the war-torn region to about 200, supported by tactical helicopters. The elite soldiers are officially there to train Kurdish militia but have often found themselves on the front lines of the conflict, painting targets and exchanging fire with the enemy. Canada has also set up a field hospital in the region and increased its humanitarian aid.<br /> <br /> SYRIAN REFUGEES<br /> <br /> The photo of the limp, lifeless body of Syrian boy Alan Kurdi washed up on Turkish shores in September 2015 moved Canadians and had a dramatic impact on the election in its final stretch. Trudeau on the hustings pledged to boost and fast-track Canada&rsquo;s intake of refugees. A massive airlift was organised to resettle 25,000 refugees in less than three months. Their numbers have since swelled to 31,000, contributing to a record number of immigrants (320,932) for the year ending June 30. The total broke a previous peak set in 2009-2010 when migrants flocked to Canada to escape economic hardships.<br /> <br /> ABORIGINAL RECONCILIATION<br /> <br /> Canada&rsquo;s indigenous peoples, including Inuit and Metis, represent 4.3 per cent of the population but face a disproportionately higher rate of gross poverty and desperation that has bred abuse, suicide and crime in many native communities. The Trudeau Administration has pledged Can$8.4 billion (US$6.4 billion) to respond to their desperate needs, including improved education and housing, and potable water. The Government has also launched a public inquiry into the killings and disappearances of 1,200 indigenous women over the past three decades.<br /> <br /> FEMINISM<br /> <br /> Trudeau has often described himself as a staunch feminist and his first act as prime minister was to appoint a Cabinet with an equal number of men and women. When asked why, he simply replied: &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s 2015.&rdquo; The phrase has gone viral, and has been used to defend all manner of progressive decisions. Trudeau also made history in July 2015 when he became the first sitting Canadian prime minister to march in Toronto&rsquo;s Gay Pride parade, before attending similar events in Vancouver and Montreal that summer. Among G7 countries, Trudeau is the only head of government or head of state to have participated in a Gay Pride parade. Trudeau has also unveiled legislation shielding transgender people from discrimination and hate speech, and vowed pay equity in Canada&rsquo;s public service.<br /> <br /> MARIJUANA<br /> <br /> Trudeau admitted in 2013 to having smoked pot five or six times in his life, including at a dinner party with friends since being elected to parliament. He has also said that his late brother, Michel was facing marijuana possession charges for a &ldquo;tiny amount&rdquo; of pot before his death in an avalanche in 1998, and that this influenced his decision to propose legalising cannabis. Canada is scheduled to become the first G7 nation in 2017 to legalise recreational use of marijuana. A marijuana task force led by a former deputy prime minister has been appointed to advise the Government on new regulations. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363618/234994_62143_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM PepsiCo pledges healthier offerings http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/PepsiCo-pledges-healthier-offerings_77526 NEW YORK, United States (AFP) &mdash; PepsiCo set new targets for more healthful food and beverages Monday and announced pledges to reduce product packaging and limit water use. <br /> <br /> With US soda giants under pressure to produce more healthy beverages, Pepsi pledged that by 2025, at least two-thirds of the 12 ounce beverages it sells will contain 100 or fewer calories. At least three-quarters of foods sold will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 calories.<br /> <br /> Pepsi&rsquo;s &ldquo;2025 Sustainability Agenda&rdquo; also included policies to limit water consumption, incorporate more recyclable packaging and purchase crops from sustainable farms.<br /> <br /> Besides soda, Pepsi&rsquo;s brands include Gatorade sports drinks, the Frito-Lay snack brand and Tropicana orange juice.<br /> <br /> A study released last week by academics at the Boston University School of Public Health faulted Pepsi and rival Coca-Cola for fighting added taxes on high-sugar sodas at the same time they provide funding to health organisations. The study questioned whether the soda giants&rsquo; funding for those groups was driven by marketing rather than public interest. <br /> <br /> PepsiCo chief executive Indra Nooyi said the company&rsquo;s 2025 Sustainability Agenda aims to be consistent with United Nations sustainable development goals and the 2015 Paris climate agreement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To succeed in today&rsquo;s volatile and changing world, corporations must do three things exceedingly well: focus on delivering strong financial performance, do it in a way that is sustainable over time and be responsive to the needs of society,&rdquo; Nooyi said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363470/234986_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Rich countries &lsquo;confident&rsquo; of meeting climate finance pledge http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Rich-countries--confident--of-meeting-climate-finance-pledge_77514 PARIS, France (AFP) &mdash; Rich countries, which have pledged US$100 billion (91 billion euros) every year from 2020 for poor countries to deal with climate change, said Monday they were &ldquo;confident&rdquo; of meeting the target.<br /> <br /> Pledges made in 2015 alone would boost public finance from US$41 billion in 2013-14 to US$67 billion in 2020, they said in a report entitled &ldquo;Road map to $100 billion&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> This was based on calculations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and relate to funds from governments and multinational development banks, not private contributions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It should be considered a conservative, indicative aggregation of public climate finance levels in 2020, rather than a firm prediction,&rdquo; the countries said.<br /> <br /> The report, signed by 38 developed nations and the European Commission, was released in Marrakesh at a meeting to prepare for the annual round of United Nations climate talks to be hosted by Morocco in November. <br /> <br /> Last year&rsquo;s round, in France, yielded the so-called Paris Agreement to curb global warming to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.<br /> <br /> The US$100-billion pledge was made at the 2009 talks in Copenhagen, where it was a major sticking point in negotiations.<br /> <br /> The hard-fought Paris Agreement seeks to limit climate change by curbing planet-warming gases emitted by mankind&rsquo;s burning of coal, oil and gas for energy and heating.<br /> <br /> The US dollar amount was finally not enshrined in the binding agreement itself, but in an attached non-binding &ldquo;decision&rdquo; document, which committed developed countries to &ldquo;set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of US$100 billion per year&rdquo; &mdash; meaning it can only go up.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are confident we will meet the $100-billion goal from a variety of sources, and reaffirm our commitment to doing so...&rdquo; the countries said.<br /> <br /> The sourcing of the money had been one of the main points of contention, with poor nations insisting most of it should come from governments rather than loans, companies, multilateral agencies, or development aid.<br /> <br /> The money is meant to ease the shift from cheap and abundant coal to renewable energy sources, and for shoring up defences against climate change impacts such as freak storms, drought and sea-level rise.<br /> <br /> In the &ldquo;Road map&rdquo;, the donor countries committed themselves to &ldquo;use public finance and policy interventions to effectively mobilise private finance&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Observers welcomed Monday&rsquo;s report, but said there was still a need for donors to show exactly how they will make up the remaining difference.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We know that the national climate plans in the Paris Agreement will take trillions of dollars to implement,&rdquo; said Alison Doig, climate change adviser for Christian Aid, which defends the interests of climate change victims.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The public finance outlined today will help, but is not enough.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363461/234999_62192_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363456/235094_62193_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Climate change could push 122 million into extreme poverty &mdash; UN http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Climate-change-could-push-122-million-into-extreme-poverty---UN_77515 ROME, Italy (AFP) &mdash; Climate change could sink up to 122 million more people into extreme poverty by 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa, where small farmers would see their output plummet, the United Nations warned Monday.<br /> <br /> In an annual report, the UN&rsquo;s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned that a worst-case scenario involving high-impact climate change would pound the communities that rely on agriculture for their livelihood.<br /> <br /> It called for a &ldquo;broad-based transformation of food and agricultural systems&rdquo; to adapt to a warmer world, and doubling down on support for the world&rsquo;s 475 million smallholder farm families.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is no doubt climate change affects food security,&rdquo; FAO chief Jose Graziano da Silva said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What climate change does is to bring back uncertainties from the time we were all hunter gatherers. We cannot assure any more that we will have the harvest we have planted.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Farming is both a driver of climate change, responsible for some 21 per cent of global greenhouse gas production, and a victim, with crops adversely affected by drought and floods.<br /> <br /> Adopting &ldquo;climate-smart&rdquo; practices, like planting nitrogen-efficient and heat-tolerant crops, or finding better ways to conserve water, would reduce undernourishment for many millions, the FAO said.<br /> <br /> To weigh the effect of climate change, the FAO created predictive models based on either a low- or high-impact scenario, and compared them to a third in which climate change did not exist.<br /> <br /> Without global warming, it said, general economic growth would work to reduce the numbers of those at risk of hunger in most regions.<br /> <br /> But taking a &ldquo;business as usual&rdquo; approach in a world with climate change would see the numbers of the world&rsquo;s poor jump by between 35 and 122 million by 2030.<br /> <br /> In the worst-case scenario, 62 million of the newly poor are in South Asia, and 43 million in Africa. <br /> <br /> INCREASINGLY SEVERE IMPACT<br /> <br /> Over the next few decades, the UN agency said some regions, especially cold ones, would actually see some gains in fishing, farming and forestry output. <br /> <br /> But that positive impact would disappear by 2030, replaced by an &ldquo;increasingly severe&rdquo; negative impact on yields all across the globe.<br /> <br /> The FAO urged signatories to the 2015 Paris climate deal to &ldquo;put commitments into action&rdquo;, underscoring the need to help developing countries with climate change mitigation.<br /> <br /> These should include support for innovation, climate finance to fund developing countries&rsquo; involvement, and using international public finance to trigger greater public and private investment.<br /> <br /> The FAO estimated the cost of funding smallholder farmers in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia at roughly US$210 billion per year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The benefits of adaptation outweigh the costs of inaction by very wide margins,&rdquo; Graziano da Silva said.<br /> <br /> In comparison, developed countries and the biggest developing countries spent more than US$560 billion in 2015 supporting the farming industry, the FAO said in its report.<br /> <br /> The UN agency also highlighted agricultural innovations that could help the industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.<br /> <br /> Instead of flooding rice paddies, for example, Asian farmers could use water-conserving alternatives, with a 45-per cent drop in methane emissions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363457/235095_62191_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363459/234996_62190_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM New messaging apps gain traction in workplace http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/New-messaging-apps-gain-traction-in-workplace_77524 WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Looking to break out of a &ldquo;messy&rdquo; email situation, the non-profit group dosomething.org recently switched over to a new way of communicating among its far-flung teams.<br /> <br /> Moving most internal communications to the messaging application Slack with its &lsquo;channels&rsquo; for various teams made it easier to coordinate the group&rsquo;s social change projects across 131 countries, said software engineer Joe Kent.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All the teams have their channels and anyone can jump in and see what the others are doing,&rdquo; Kent told AFP. &ldquo;You can follow the conversation a lot more quickly.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Slack, created in 2013, has become a leader in a crowded field of new applications aimed at helping workplaces move away from email.<br /> <br /> Facebook this month jumped headlong into this segment with its Workplace application, aiming to leverage the popularity of the leading social network used by some 1.7 billion people.<br /> <br /> Facebook is among an array of competitors vying for a slice of this market, including several start-ups and Microsoft.<br /> <br /> San Francisco-based Slack has raised some US$500 million at a reported valuation of some US$4 billion, making it one of the most prominent venture-funded tech &lsquo;unicorns&rsquo; worth over US$1 billion.<br /> <br /> With some three million active users, including nearly one million paying for &lsquo;premium&rsquo; service, Slack has become one of the fastest-growing business applications.<br /> <br /> Craig Le Clair of Forrester Research said these services are growing because younger &ldquo;millennials&rdquo; have different ways of working.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They want to work when they want to, they want chat sessions that better integrate with their social media lives,&rdquo; Le Clair said.<br /> <br /> Le Clair said many workplaces are facing &ldquo;information overload&rdquo; due to the volume of emails that need to be sorted and prioritised.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The goal is to get out of email hell,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> JUST SIGN UP<br /> <br /> Small- and medium-sized businesses find Slack especially appealing because of its ease of use on both mobile and desktop devices, says Mark Beccue, an analyst who researched the market for Compass Intelligence.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no friction. Companies don&rsquo;t have to go through a major software license process, you just sign up,&rdquo; Beccue said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the consumerisation of an enterprise product.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> ?The global enterprise chat and messaging market is set to reach US$1.9 billion by 2019, according to Beccue&rsquo;s report.<br /> <br /> Slack came at the right time for companies seeking new ways to improve workplace efficiency, Beccue said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think they are a major driver of innovation for business productivity,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Slack and rivals like Atlassian&rsquo;s HipChat and Microsoft&rsquo;s Yammer offer social media-style interfaces for messages, and some integrate with business applications to enable voice calls, video and other services.<br /> <br /> Slack recently teamed with cloud computing group Salesforce to broaden its offerings in services such as customer relations management. <br /> <br /> Slack also allows organisations to create channels for communicating outside the enterprise, powered by artificial intelligence &lsquo;bots.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Slack is moving away from just being a messaging tool, they want to be the home base for enterprise applications, and that&rsquo;s a different ball game,&rdquo; said Raul Castanon-Martinez, an analyst at 451 Research.<br /> <br /> Castanon-Martinez said that &ldquo;Slack&rsquo;s success took a lot of people by surprise&rdquo; but that it may be difficult to sustain momentum in the face of deep-pocketed rivals like Facebook and Microsoft.<br /> <br /> Microsoft earlier this year announced that its Yammer messaging platform would integrate with its Office 365 groups, while also offering easy connections to Outlook email and Skype, aiming for a broad set of business tools under its umbrella.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Microsoft hasn&rsquo;t made a lot of noise, but they have been aggressive in remaining the dominant place in productivity applications,&rdquo; Castanon-Martinez said.<br /> <br /> Aggressive pricing is also being used as a way to woo businesses away from Slack. Microsoft offers its suite of services for US$2 to US$4 per user, and Facebook US$1 to US$3 per user compared with Slack&rsquo;s standard US$6.67 per user.<br /> <br /> THE FACEBOOK MODEL<br /> <br /> Facebook meanwhile is seeking to use its advantage as &ldquo;the social media world that millennials grew up with&rdquo;, Le Clair said.<br /> <br /> But the analyst said it is not clear if companies and network managers will move to the Facebook platform.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Most of the employers and managers didn&rsquo;t grow up in that world,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;They associate Facebook with something their kids are doing, it&rsquo;s not associated with productivity and getting work done. Some companies even restrict the use of Facebook in the workplace.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Analysts point out that Slack and similar platforms may increase the burden on employees, becoming an additional &ldquo;feed&rdquo; to manage, and that email is still necessary for external contacts and other functions.<br /> <br /> Le Clair said artificial intelligence may be the tool that helps sift through messages to stay on track.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You&rsquo;re going to need emerging analytics to go through those streams,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Facebook has done a lot of investment in AI so they could be well-placed to do that.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13362100/235097_62160_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Pensioners fight to survive as Zimbabwe flounders http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Pensioners-fight-to-survive-as-Zimbabwe-flounders_77522 HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) &mdash; They sleep outside banks, skimp on meals and sell flowers in hospitals. After long years of work, Zimbabwe&rsquo;s pensioners are struggling to survive old age as the country&rsquo;s economy collapses.<br /> <br /> With banks short of cash to pay out pensions, 80-year-old Gift Kaondera-Shava, a former truck driver, bus conductor and factory supervisor, now scrambles to feed himself and his son&rsquo;s family, none of whom can find a job.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Things are just not right,&rdquo; Kaondera-Shava told AFP at his home in Chitungwiza, south of the capital Harare.<br /> <br /> Though he should at least be able to rely on his State pension of US$89 and private pension of US$140 each month, recently he has been unable withdraw it from the bank.<br /> <br /> Hyperinflation had destroyed the life savings of many older people until Zimbabwe finally abandoned its own currency in 2009 in favour of the US dollar.<br /> <br /> But Zimbabwe has been unable to stop its economic decline, which has led to a severe shortage of US dollar notes. Banks often have no cash for customers with ATMs empty for months.<br /> <br /> The Government has said it will soon start printing its own &ldquo;bond notes&rdquo; equivalent to the US dollar to ease the cash shortage.<br /> <br /> Many, however, fear the policy will only revive hyperinflation and will fail to tackle an economy hollowed out by land seizures, emigration, investor withdrawal, drought, and endemic corruption.<br /> <br /> DANGER POINT<br /> <br /> At night in Harare, it&rsquo;s a regular sight to find pensioners camping on pavements outside banks.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We queue for days for our money and sometimes we&rsquo;re told there&rsquo;s no money, so we go back home empty-handed,&rdquo; said Kaondera-Shava.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are heading to a danger point,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Imagine! I can only manage to withdraw my pension if I join the queue at the bank at 1:00 am.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> To supplement his income, Kaondera-Shava has moved himself and his wife into two rooms so he can rent out the spare rooms in his house, but there are few takers. So he says he stays home and reads the Bible, which &ldquo;gives me solace during difficult times.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Another pensioner forced to scrape a living, 71-year-old John Charumbira, retired in 2011 after 36 years as a horticulturist in the Harare municipality parks department.<br /> <br /> He has a State pension of just US$60 a month, picking up extra cash selling flowers at schools and hospitals.<br /> <br /> But this is still insufficient to afford the US$80 a month he needs for his prostate drugs, which used to be paid by the city support services until last year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Doctors have warned that if I don&rsquo;t take the drugs, I will develop complications which will require surgery too, and where will I get the money for that?&rdquo; Charumbira said.<br /> <br /> Despite his poor health, he raises a few pigs and chickens and grows vegetables at his rural house where he moved with his wife to cut back expenses, as the property has no piped-in water or electricity.<br /> <br /> Three of his six children have left the country to look for jobs abroad.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t rely on them because they have not been spared by the difficulties,&rdquo; Charumbira said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I survive on earnings from my flower nursery and other projects like a piggery. I could not have survived only on my pension.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> LAST TO BE PAID<br /> <br /> President Robert Mugabe might be 92 himself, and in increasingly frail health, but he has vowed to retain his more than three-decades-long grip on power as Zimbabwe&rsquo;s economic troubles multiply.<br /> <br /> His Government spends 97 per cent of the budget on salaries for its workers, and has been forced to delay payment to civil servants and soldiers as money runs short.<br /> <br /> Unemployment is at about 90 per cent, and the country owes lenders, including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank about US$9 billion.<br /> <br /> Last month, Zimbabwe slashed its projected growth forecast from 2.7 per cent to 1.2 per cent, blaming the decline on a regional drought, investment shortfalls, and the cash crunch.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s created a situation where pensioners end up &ldquo;the last to be paid&rdquo;, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Japhet Moyo toldAFP.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Life is very difficult for pensioners and some have died from stress-related health complications,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Government has forgotten the contributions these people made during their active years. It gives priority to soldiers and the police.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Philemon Tsvinyai, 63, who retired in 2014 after working for 20 years for a thread and yarn-making company, is forced to work in the fields to survive.<br /> <br /> But he insists he actually feels more sorry for Zimbabwe&rsquo;s young.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have seven children and they are also struggling. I feel pity for them,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363477/234989_62195_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363476/234990_62197_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Portugal to levy sugar tax on soft drinks http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Portugal-to-levy-sugar-tax-on-soft-drinks_77525 LISBON, Portugal (AFP) &mdash; Portugal&rsquo;s Socialist government will introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks in 2017 which is expected to raise 80 million euros (US$88 million) for the nation&rsquo;s public health service, a budget bill presented Friday showed.<br /> <br /> The announcement comes just three days after the World Health Organization urged countries to start taxing sugary drinks, pointing to evidence that price hikes can dramatically reduce consumption.<br /> <br /> Under Portugal&rsquo;s plans, drinks with a sugar content above 80 grammes per litre will be slapped with a tax of 16.46 euros per hectolitre.<br /> <br /> Drinks with less than 80 grammes of sugar per litre will pay a tax of 8.22 euros per hectolitre.<br /> <br /> The tax will raise the price of a standard 330 millilitre can of Coca-Cola, which contains 35 grammes of sugar, by 5.5 euro cents.<br /> <br /> The new tax will apply only to soft drinks. Sugary drinks based on milk or fruit juice will be spared.<br /> <br /> The previous centre-right government, in power until November 2015, considered introducing a sugar tax on drinks and foods that contained too much sugar or salt but dropped the idea.<br /> <br /> Only a handful of other countries, such as France, Mexico and South Africa, have introduced a sugar tax.<br /> <br /> British Prime Minister Theresa May in August released proposals for such a tax as part of her Conservative government&rsquo;s strategy to combat childhood obesity.<br /> <br /> The Socialists came to power in Portugal last year after they teamed up with the Communists and the far-left Left Block to oust the centre-right administration.<br /> <br /> The small leftist parties did not formally join the new government, but Prime Minister Antonio Costa relies on them for a majority in parliament to pass legislation &ndash; an unprecedented political arrangement in 40 years of Portuguese democracy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363469/235156_62201_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Holness stands firm on tax promise http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Tax-break-will-not-be-diverted-to-fighting-crime---PM_77245 BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com ? Prime Minister Andrew Holness is standing firm to his commitment of increasing the income tax threshold next April, and says that the funds earmarked for the tax break will not be diverted to fighting crime. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I have already made the public commitment that there will be an increased allocation in crime fighting. You have already seen published in the Economic Growth Council a set of actions. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Just today [Thursday] the Ministry of National Security working in tandem with the Attorney General&rsquo;s Office has essentially completed a new legal framework to assist in crime fighting. So there will be an allocation, it will not necessarily interfere with programmes that are already agreed on, but there has to be an increased allocation,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> The statement was in response to suggestions by the co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, to &ldquo;delay or stretch out&rdquo; the increase in income tax threshold next April in an effort to place more resources into fighting crime across the country. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t fight crime with just sentiments and words &mdash; we have to put our resources where the problem is,&rdquo; Holness continued. He was speaking at the joint Government of Jamaica and International Monetary Fund press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston last Thursday. <br /> <br /> Last week, Byles suggested that about half of the $16 billion the Government expects to raise to finance the second phase of the increase in income tax threshold plan could be routed to capital expenditure for the security forces. <br /> <br /> He noted that the newly formed Economic Growth Council has cited crime as one of &mdash; the greatest impediments to growth in Jamaica, and that the Security Ministry could see a tripling in capital budget if the Government routed $8 billion from the tax break to fighting crime. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have scarce resources; we are going to raise $16 billion next year to increase the tax threshold? Is that the best way to spend the scarce resources or should we be putting some of it into fighting crime?&rdquo; he questioned as he addressed journalists at the monthly EPOC press briefing at Sagicor&rsquo;s head office in New Kingston.<br /> <br /> He added that public documents showed insufficient resources with total capital expenditure of the Government at $43 billion and total capital expenditure for the national security ministry of $3.6 billion. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m glad that there is a mind share developing in the country, but the obvious answer is that resources have to be allocated to the priority of fighting crime. We agree on that. There are other priorities as well, such as economic growth and the transformation of the tax system because all things working together will actually result in a reduction in crime,&rdquo; Holness said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13358333/taxb_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, October 16, 2016 2:00 AM Holness says gov&rsquo;t growing more supportive of private sector http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Holness-says-gov-t-growing-more-supportive-of-private-sector_77211 BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that in rationalising his government, he expects it to become more supportive of private sector-led development.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Government as it is structured is not being as supportive as it could be to the private sector, and there has to be a rethinking of the purpose, role and functions of government,&rdquo; Holness told Wednesday&rsquo;s Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) symposium at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I know it is not a widely accepted concept, but for 30 years or more we have grown comfortable with the notion that it must be government that leads everything. So what we have is a government that is involved in almost everything, but not very good at any one thing,&rdquo; he told the audience.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am well past the school of belief that it is government that must lead the growth agenda. What government must do is to create the atmosphere or the regulatory environment that is conducive and supportive of business,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The truth is we have incredible potential enterprise and industry in the private sector, and the government&rsquo;s role is to nudge them, support them, facilitate them, encourage them to go out there and build more houses, build more factories, employ more people and bring growth and job creation and economic and social well-being and prosperity to our people,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Holness admitted that the real estate industry has several layers of government regulation, which require rationalisation.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The government is seriously looking at, as part of the overall rationalisation, making government more efficient, and that process will have to look at merging some of the regulators to make them more efficient and to make regulation cost you less,&rdquo; he told the realtors.<br /> <br /> Earlier in his speech opening the symposium, Holness noted that the government was considering getting more liquidity into the mortgage sector, so that mortgage rates could come down further.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have started the policy analysis towards developing a secondary mortgage market, where people who hold mortgages can readily find a market to liquidate and get funds to on-lend. That will have an effect, ultimately, of reducing mortgage rates,&rdquo; he argued.<br /> <br /> He conceded that any policy of the kind would have to take into consideration, very carefully, the sub prime list which affected the US. However, he said that his government has looked at models which have been developed and which give adequate protection to markets where secondary mortgage markets exist.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I would say that, within the near future, you will see some movement towards that. So realtors get ready, mortgage rates are going to come down, based upon the policies that we are putting in place.<br /> <br /> He said that the government has also started a process of evaluating the possibility of putting in place reverse mortgages as a feature of the Jamaican mortgage system.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Realtors should look for this in the medium term, but we have already started the process,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13358315/mortages_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, October 16, 2016 2:00 AM BOJ reserve hike might affect profit incrementally &mdash; Vaughn White http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/BOJ-reserve-hike-might-affect-profit-incrementally-----Vaughn-White-------_77034 BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), which has taken the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curb the appetite of local banks for forex assets, has moved cash reserve limits from nine per cent to 10 per cent. The change became effective on October 3.<br /> <br /> At the end of September 2016, foreign currency cash reserves held by the central bank for deposit-taking insitutions was US$273.55 million (which includes both UK pounds and Canadian dollars converted).<br /> <br /> The IMF, which discussed the issue of rising dollarisation of accounts in its 13th review of the Extended Fund Facility arrangement with Jamaica, noted that banks were, in particular, moving investments into foreign exchange-denominated assets .<br /> <br /> Gary Vaughn White, vice president of treasury at Scotia Group Jamaica told the Jamaica Observer that &ldquo;given that no interest is paid by the BOJ on FC cash reserves, there may be some impact on profitability of the incremental amounts&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Up to the end of last month, the rates were zero per cent for US dollars and UK pounds, and 0.07 per cent for Canadian dollars. Effective 3 October 2016, foreign currency cash reserves will not be remunerated, the BOJ told the Caribbean Business Report.<br /> <br /> In general, any impact on profit might be less problematic for commercial banks than for merchant banks and building societies.<br /> <br /> Based on data submitted to the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) by supervised institutions up to 5 August 2016, while the pre-tax profit margin for all sectors was 31 per cent, within this, commercial banks reflected a margin of 33.3 per cent for July, merchant banks 2.4 per cent and building societies 23 per cent.<br /> <br /> The commercial banks have $1.014 trillion in total assets, while merchant banks had $33. 9 billion in assets as at July, and building societies held $263.9 billion in assets.<br /> <br /> In its 13th review of the Extended Fund Facility arrangement with Jamaica, the fund noted that as at June 2016, more than 45 per cent of deposits in the institutions were denominated in US dollars. This is accompanied by dollarisation of investment portfolios, the fund said.<br /> <br /> The fund said that high dollarisation has economic costs reducing the effectiveness of monetary policy, constraining central bank capacity to act as a lender of last resort, exacerbating the &lsquo;fear of floating&rsquo;, making greater exchange rate flexibility costly, and could potentially fuel liquidity and currency mismatch risks in the financial system, as stated in its review.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To address rising dollarisation and speculative FX pressures in the financial system, the authorities should explore the feasibility of introducing prudential limits on the FX net open position of financial institutions,&rdquo; the IMF asserted in its discussion. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11613679/BOJ_w300.jpg Local Business Sunday, October 16, 2016 2:00 AM