Wrong priority

PIOJ accepts call from CEO of Honey Bun for more data to help local SMEs

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


CHIEF executive officer of Honey Bun Limited, Michelle Chong has added her voice to those calling for a more structured data-driven focus on the development of Jamaica's small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) agrees.

According to Chong, SMEs contribute significantly to the local economy yet there is no solid data on the sector's contribution to GDP or to export.

But director general of the PIOJ Dr Wayne Henry says the level of informality in the sector makes providing accurate data a challenge.

“As a policy initiative, as a country, we have to find ways to incentivise formality to make persons who are informal and below the radar want to come on the radar,” Henry told a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange yesterday.

“The high degree of informality hurts to a certain extent,” admitted Henry, noting that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), which is mandated to collect, compile, analyse, abstract, and publish statistical information relating to all sections of the economy, would be pressed to provide the data on SMEs.

Henry was supported by Nyasha Garraway, director of the Marco-economy and Trade Unit at the PIOJ, who said the agency was looking at other ways to get the data.

“We too do have a challenge with the lack of data of MSMEs and so we try to find creative ways to garner this data. So if, for example, STATIN cannot provide us with the level of information we want, it requires establishing relationships with other agencies,” Garraway told Observer editors and reporters.

Addressing Summit of Excellence — Leadership and Business last week, Chong argued that given that SMEs account for 97 per cent of registered businesses locally there is a surprising lack of adequate data available to guide the development of strategy and growth of the sector.

“It is my opinion that SMEs don't need money — yet. What we need is data. We need targets and we need a plan. Too often we think we need money first. What a mistake,” said Chong.

“As an analogy — in war — the sergeant will say, 'wait, wait, wait, wait, not yet, wait, go!' Well, that's what I say about money to many SMEs — wait. The money is the springboard but we have to develop the strongest board from which to take off, the strongest legs on which to pounce, and the style to hit the water without the splash,” added Chong.

The Honey Bun head noted that data from PIOJ showed that in 2018, loans to SMEs increased by $3 billion over 2017, while sales from SMEs did not show a real increase.

Chong charged that too often, as a country, we indulge in what she described as an “entitlement mentality”.

“We stretch out our hands with our palms up and then curse the same hands we expect to fill them. We cannot grow a country with that mentality.

“We need to take responsibility for the things we want to change and work in partnership with each other for them to change,” declared Chong.

She said to grow small businesses locally firm strategies are needed, as they need to focus more on a number of areas including, understanding proper governance, financial intelligence, reporting, marketing, and productivity.

The Summit of Excellence — Leadership and Business was organised by Alex Ihama, CEO of School of Greatness — Canada and featured top business leaders and subject-matter experts from Jamaica and across the globe.

In a presentation dubbed 'Strategic Business Models for SME Success', Chong also urged the associations which represent SMEs to collaborate more in the development and execution of strategy for their growth and development.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT