Government allocates $850m to support private sector competitiveness
THE Government has allocated $850 million to a project to strengthen the enabling environment for private sector competitiveness, which should help the country unleash productivity and growth.
This will be achieved by enhancing competition in the business environment, facilitating large-scale private investments, supporting small-and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) capabilities and finance, essential to unleash private sector productivity upgrading and job growth.
Financing policy and societal learning through project implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is also a component of the project.
Details are provided in the 2017/18 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives.
This project, titled the Jamaica Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth, is being funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and implemented through the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica Trade and invest (jampro), and the Development Bank of Jamaica.
The project intends to provide technical assistance and implementation support to address critical business competition and regulatory issues that constrain a firm’s entry, operation and expansion, and efficient trade and logistics operations.
It will facilitate large-scale private investments through finance feasibility and other related studies and technical assistance to enable the Government to prepare for and close investment transactions with private sector participation in a way that enables transformational growth impacts.
One component of the project includes supporting SMEs through the funding of an ecosystem approach, in which a combination of value chain learning and skills upgrading, and finance are provided.
Anticipated targets for the 2017/18 fiscal year include the establishment of the Special Economic Zone Authority, and commencement of operational and marketing activities; the optimisation of Jamaica’s national investment strategy; the commencement of consultancy to amend the Fair Trading Commission Act (FTCA), to include mergers and acquisitions; and the start of a feasibility study of the proposed Caymanas Economic Zone.
A number of Public-Private Partnership transactions, including Ship Registry Phase II and School Solar PV Study, are to be completed, and the disbursement of grants to qualified SMEs will be continued.
The project started in September 2014 and will run to June 2020.