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 Crowe Horwath Jamaica looks to Trinidad, Cuba http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Crowe-Horwath-Jamaica-looks-to-Trinidad--Cuba-_78652 Recently merged accounting firm Crowe Horwath Jamaica will be expanding its footprint into Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba over the next 12 months. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are currently very advanced in rolling out throughout Trinidad and we are significantly advanced in rolling out our presence in Cuba,&rdquo; managing partner of Crowe Horwath Jamaica, Dawkins Brown, told the Jamaica Observer at the launch of the new brand on Thursday. <br /> <br /> As more Jamaican companies looks to establish a presence in Trinidad and Tobago, Brown reckons that the demand for professional services will increase amid the big four accounting firms &mdash; PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Touche, KPMG, and Ernst and Young &mdash; already operating in Trinidad and Tobago. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We believe in Caribbean linkages and we believe that there are a lot of Jamaican companies who will establish their presence in Trinidad and will need help in identifying the right location, business partners, recruiting staff, and setting up operation,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> He added that the advantages of setting up manufacturing plants in Trinidad, where energy cost is significantly less than in Jamaica, will heighten local manufacturer&rsquo;s interest in that country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Caricom; the treaty is there which speaks to double taxation, almost free mobility of technical staff. We see our growth as almost lateral.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Brown noted that setting up operations in Trinidad will be a fairly easy task since all the firms under the Crowe Horwath umbrella adopt international accounting standards. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;So all we are doing is lifting the platform and putting it there. And we are not even lifting everything because a lot of services will be supported by the Jamaican team remotely,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> As for Cuba &mdash; &ldquo;Cuba is very interesting; we see over the next five to 10 years the US amending aspects of its embargo [which] is significant,&rdquo; Brown continued. <br /> <br /> Crowe Horwath Jamaica hopes to capitalise on the unstructuredness of Cuba, which has few accounting standard or procedures. Additionally, with the expected lifting of the US embargo, Cuba will soon be open to an influx of private firms &mdash; local and international. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We know that a firm will be required to help them structure working with governments as consultants to set up their systems and also to work with the private sector. And we also talk about foreign companies who would want to set up in Cuba,&rdquo; Brown told the<br /> <br /> Caribbean Business Report.<br /> <br /> Recently, the former UHY Dawgen merged with accounting firm Crowe Horwath International, which is touted as being ranked among the top 10 global accounting networks with more than 200 independent accounting and advisory services firms in more than 130 countries. The international firm members are known for personal service to privately and publicly held businesses in all sectors, and have built an international reputation in the areas of audit, tax and advisory services. <br /> <br /> Crowe Horwath Jamaica will call on the services of its partner firms in rolling out across the Caribbean, but its hub will remain in Jamaica. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We already have the market, so what we are doing now is working with the regulations of the countries,&rdquo; Brown said. <br /> <br /> With plans underway to expand its footprint into Caribbean markets, Crowe Horwath Jamaica expects to see an increase of 35 per cent in its customer base over the next 12 months. <br /> <br /> Additionally, Crowe Horwath Jamaica will be employing another 35 people by year end as it seeks to increase its ability to compete in the global marketplace, while further embracing local small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) seeking to do business internationally.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389363/237145_63991_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM Invest in Jamaica &ndash; Hendrickson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Invest-in-Jamaica---Hendrickson_78617 Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson, the 24th inductee into the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Hall of Fame for entrepreneurs who have become legends, is urging members of the private sector to stand shoulder to shoulder with government in targeting growth, suggesting also that the possibility of achieving record upswings has never been as good as now.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I dare you to play a catalysing role in nation-building,&rdquo; Hendrickson challenged some 500 members of the private sector who were in attendance at the induction ball at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday, October 26.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There has never been a more opportune time. Let there be no agenda. Rather, let it be Jamaica first&hellip;,&rdquo; he said, speaking after the receipt of the award and the reading of his citation.<br /> <br /> Started in 1992, the PSOJ Hall of Fame award honours entrepreneurs who have been leaders in commerce and industry for at least 25 years, and who have also reinvested in nation-building.<br /> <br /> Hendrickson was preceded by Earl Jarrett, general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, in 2015, and Glenford Christian, CEO and chairman of Cari-Med Ltd, the year before.<br /> <br /> The latest honouree, who is a graduate of Jamaica College, Miami Military Academy and Fordham University in the United States, has more than 35 years of leadership and management experience, working principally in the company started by his grandfather Reginald Hendrickson, Continental Baking Company Ltd.<br /> <br /> However, he has also thrust himself into many national projects, side by side with many investments in the fields of agro-processing, tourism and baking. He is also chairman of Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St Lucia.<br /> <br /> Credited with the modernisation of the company, the businesman is Chief Executive Officer of Continental, now Jamaica&rsquo;s largest baking company, exporting to the UK, US and regionally and employing some 1,400 people. The company owns the National, HTB and HoMade brands. <br /> <br /> This year&rsquo;s inductee has also served as Chairman of the National Export Import Bank of Jamaica (EX-IM Bank) and now sits on the boards of Rainforest Seafoods, the King&rsquo;s House Foundation, Red Stripe, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Bank of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Hendrickson is well known for his Bold One&rsquo;s initiative in which more than $200 million has been spent in providing critical marketing support for promising small and medium-sized companies.<br /> <br /> The entrepreneur is also a philanthropist in the field of education and especially early childhood development.<br /> <br /> Hendrickson said in his address that his efforts were the result of excellent partnerships within both the private and public sectors, citing the state-of-the-art Union Gardens Early Child Institution as one such, and called on other business leaders to create similar projects.<br /> <br /> He commented that in the private sector, apathy had reached viral proportions and that &ldquo;fitting in with the flavour of the month&rdquo; was considered more important than acting to defend truth.<br /> <br /> He challenged members to form a &ldquo;strong, bold partnership&rdquo; with government&hellip; one marked by mutual trust, awareness of one common goal, and &ldquo;going beyond all political affiliation.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> President of the PSOJ PB Scott stated that Hendrickson, &ldquo;has invested in the good times and the bad times. He has been long on Jamaica&rdquo;, also challenging other private sector members to go long on Jamaica, instead of holding back on innovation and investment when dark clouds loom.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Butch Hendrickson has never waited for the wind of change. Year in, year out, he has come forward with new products. National leads the way,&rdquo; Scott said.<br /> <br /> The PSOJ president indicated that it was the first time that two members of one family had become members in the Hall of Fame, adding that Butch was following in the footsteps of his father Karl Hendrickson, who was inducted in 2002.<br /> <br /> Apart from several private sector leaders, the high-profile event was also attended by two former prime ministers &mdash; Portia Simpson Miller and Bruce Golding &mdash; as well as Minister of Health Chris Tufton and former Minister of Finance Peter Phillips.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13388941/237106_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM Digicel Jamaica: Charity in its blood http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Digicel-Jamaica--Charity-in-its-blood_78641 There is an irresistible temptation to reach for superlatives when evaluating the charity work of Digicel Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This is understandable in part because the telecommunications company earned its reputation as a generous giver while still building out its network across the island and, remarkably, even before the shareholders saw a return on their investment. <br /> <br /> In retrospect, those early glimpses of philanthropy were no fluke. <br /> <br /> On the contrary, social responsibility became a central plank in Digicel&rsquo;s business plan. It was a cause rather than consequence of the fortunes the company sought in Jamaica, and its charitable arm launched in 2004 was the codification of this bold if unspoken corporate ethos.<br /> <br /> The Digicel Foundation is a limited liability company and an approved non-governmental organisation (NGO). It is headed by a chief executive officer who reports to a board of directors and it has its own multi-tiered management structure and support staff independent of the parent company that shoulders its costs.<br /> <br /> The institution&rsquo;s private sector-style management structure and the resources that were immediately committed to its work provided ample evidence that Denis O&rsquo;Brien, Digicel&rsquo;s founder and principal stakeholder, meant business. <br /> <br /> In 12 years of operation, Digicel Foundation has spent US$26 million (J$3.3 billion) to uplift hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans in far-flung endeavours and places. It has undertaken the big and the small, the bold and the unspectacular. It pursues its favourite causes with vigour &ndash; education, special needs and community development &ndash; but is accommodating of special cases and will expand its budget to respond to emergencies even when they were not on its radar. Institutions that cater to the needs of tens of thousands under their charge are among the channels for its transformative giving, but this organisation tends to prefer a more direct route to getting the benefits to the groups or individuals it targets. Many have seen their lives transformed in ways that would have been unimaginable without its helping hands.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The foundation is given a budget for the year,&rdquo; says O&rsquo;Brien in explaining the inner workings of his charity to the<br /> <br /> Business Leader Award programme. &ldquo;But then, say, if there is a national disaster we would allocate on top of that, or if someone approached me with a particular proposal and I thought there was merit, then we would do it.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In the broad sweep of things, it hardly matters whether the benefit came by way of special dispensation or the result of targeted expenditure; the bottom line is that 737 projects have been funded, and by the foundation&rsquo;s calculations, 584,815 individuals directly impacted by its outreach to Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> But there is one spectacular case that had to be uppermost in O&rsquo;Brien&rsquo;s contemplation when he made reference to national disaster. In September 2004, just as Digicel launched its foundation, Hurricane Ivan sideswiped Jamaica, cutting a destructive swath along the island&rsquo;s southeastern shoreline.<br /> <br /> Digicel made headlines when it announced that it would contribute over J$300 million to the Government&rsquo;s reconstruction effort. From the perspective of the public, this was a seminal moment in corporate philanthropy. It represented an unfathomable demonstration of generosity, an act of kindness that was amplified by the fact that the donor had hardly had its roots firmly secured in Jamaican soil.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The foundation&rsquo;s investment of J$302 million to national reconstruction challenged and reaffirmed the core principle of its establishment to growth and development,&rdquo; the organisation said of its actions in the wake of the disaster.<br /> <br /> To belabour the obvious &mdash; O&rsquo;Brien, the founder, principal and chairman of a global communications empire, is perforce a big-picture entrepreneur. But when budget proposals, already eyeballed and burnished by the foundation&rsquo;s executives, land on his desk at board meetings, he is unapologetically keen about nailing down a few particular details. <br /> <br /> Most of all, the chairman wants to ensure that the commitments and promises that his company makes are deliverable, and in a timely manner. He is therefore not afraid to drill down into details to satisfy himself that there is no potential for a breach of this cardinal rule.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about making the commitment, then keeping the promise, then executing on that,&rdquo; he notes.<br /> <br /> It does not require a lot of imagination to appreciate the operational and organisational complexity that is involved in allocating over $3 billion to hundreds of charitable projects &mdash; evaluating thousands of initial requests, deciding which ones to pursue, measuring their impact, and so forth. <br /> <br /> The foundation argues that part of its job is to determine the human and financial resources that are required &ldquo;to implement an effective, impactful programme focused on development challenges in Jamaica&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> It also points out that &ldquo;the allocations also take into consideration inputs from valuable partners directly and indirectly contributing to the identified challenges being addressed&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Many of the projects that Digicel supports are executed without public fanfare and away from the glare of the local media, but there are exceptions, and some of them are now inextricably linked to the company&rsquo;s brand. Kingston&rsquo;s Coronation Market is a standout example.<br /> <br /> Indeed it is a good bet that the surreal image of an Irishman, dressed in business attire with entourage in tow, strolling through the city&rsquo;s seedy marketplace, is now permanently etched in the collective consciousness of the public.<br /> <br /> This scene was not a vacuous publicity stunt. It played out at the market &mdash; the inescapable backdrop for the announcement that the Digicel Foundation would be spending big bucks to transform this iconic but neglected commercial hub into a place where Jamaicans could feel comfortable doing business.<br /> <br /> As part of the transformation, 1,300 vendor stalls would be constructed at Coronation Market, and the nearby Redemption Arcade, O&rsquo;Brien announced. Major work would be undertaken on the water, sanitation and waste management facilities as well as the roofing over the administration offices. The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and USAID were partners in the project.<br /> <br /> Digicel has a big-tent approach to how it spreads its kindness &mdash; seeking to touch as many of the critical areas that impinge on human and national development as is possible. <br /> <br /> For example, even as it works to introduce modern teaching tools in primary and high schools, it builds facilities and services for special needs children. The foundation reaches down to young, budding entrepreneurs with skills training and resource allocation to help them transition to a higher level, while, at the same time, it partners with academia to figure out a way to create scalable templates for community development and sustainable enterprises.<br /> <br /> Digicel prides itself on the fact that it was one of the early companies on board when the Ministry of Education introduced an ambitious project in 2009 to increase literacy to 85 per cent by 2015. Last year September when the Government announced that the target had been surpassed following the grade four literacy test, it specifically singled out Digicel for praise because of its early and sustained support of the programme. <br /> <br /> Again, most people are probably aware that the 5K night run/walk in downtown Kingston, organised by Digicel, raises funds for special needs institutions. The inaugural event in 2012 attracted 5,000 participants, and the 2016 staging 11,000. <br /> <br /> What is generally less known is the ethereal motivation for the choice of venue. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The event staging in stigmatised downtown Kingston at night is unprecedented in recent Jamaican history due to the high incidence of crime,&rdquo; Digicel explains.<br /> <br /> It is not by accident that the headquarters of this global telecoms firm sits in the middle of downtown Kingston. That decision was intended to add momentum to tiny steps that other companies were already taking towards the regentrification of this section of the capital that had fallen into disrepair for over 40 years. <br /> <br /> Digicel&rsquo;s corporate run is part of that effort to add to the positive image of downtown that its idyllic multi-storey building is promoting.<br /> <br /> While the $3 billion expenditure line in the foundation&rsquo;s financial statements provides the big-picture dimension to Digicel&rsquo;s commitment to charitable causes, a review of the actual projects that this stupendous budget supports still helps to shed light on the real human needs that are being addressed, and the lives being transformed.<br /> <br /> Here is a sample from the inexhaustible list:<br /> <br /> &bull; Training sessions for over 225 primary school teachers in the areas of literacy, numeracy and the identification of students with learning difficulties.<br /> <br /> &bull; Distribution of 1,500 ICT devices (laptops, PCs, tablets) with educational content and solutions to basic, primary and high schools. <br /> <br /> &bull; A mobile library cart programme that provides some 20,000 books to primary schools to improve literacy levels.<br /> <br /> &bull; Construction and renovation of nine special needs schools, including the STEP Centre, NAZ Children&rsquo;s Centre (Montego Bay), Early Stimulation Plus, Genesis Academy and Mustard Seed.<br /> <br /> &bull; Training of over 100 teachers and caregivers from special needs institutions.<br /> <br /> &bull; Construction of six cottages and a skills training centre at Jacob&rsquo;s Ladder (Mustard Seed Communities), a residential facility for persons over 18 years old who have special needs.<br /> <br /> &bull; Feeding tubes provided for children with cerebral palsy in State care through the Child Development Agency.<br /> <br /> &bull; Support over the last three years to the Jamaica Autism Support Association&rsquo;s surfing for autism family fun day. This project attracts participation from more than 100 autistic children annually. Support for the association&rsquo;s annual autism awareness concert.<br /> <br /> &bull; In collaboration with the British High Commission and Beacons for Peace and Achievement (BPA) implementation of the Digicel Foundation Prince of Wales Community Peace Cup initiative aimed at engaging at-risk youth through sports. <br /> <br /> &bull; Provision of essential resources to agricultural enterprise projects including Prospect Pig Farmers, the Mile Gully Entrepreneurial Group of egg farmers, Christiana Potato Growers Association, St Thomas and St Mary Bee Farmers associations in partnership with organisations like RADA, JSIF and LIFE Secretariat. <br /> <br /> &bull; Social enterprises for schools using greenhouse technology &mdash; assisting the schools by introducing technology in agriculture. The produce is used in the school feeding programmes and also to offset operational expenses of the institutions. Partners include Sandals Foundation, Southfield Farmers Association and New Forest Infant, Primary and Junior High schools.<br /> <br /> Digicel says it taps into external technical and financial expertise to help with the monitoring and evaluation of the programmes under its charge, adding that there is regular reporting &ldquo;to internal and external stakeholders as well as periodic stakeholder meetings aimed at gaining feedback and sharing best practices&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Another important aspect of the foundation&rsquo;s work is its internal programme that aims at turning on the entire Digicel workforce to philanthropy. So each new member of staff participates in a presentation on the foundation as part of orientation and gets a chance to visit a project in which it is involved.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This ensures staff members fully understand the guiding thought around communities growing where the business grows,&rdquo; the company says.<br /> <br /> Additionally, there is a staff volunteer programme which is executed in partnership with other organisations and which is supported by a quarterly newsletter &ldquo;to provide an account and stimulate interest to staff around community spirit and volunteerism&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> 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 moseshbsjackson@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389358/237164_64030_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, October 28, 2016 2:00 AM Business leaders call for lower minimum capital test ratios http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Business-leaders-call-for-lower-minimum-capital-test-ratios_78630 PB Scott, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and Gary &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Hendrickson, chairman of the Continental Baking Company and this week&rsquo;s inductee in the PSOJ Hall of Fame, have together made a call for the removal of the high minimum capital test (MCT) ratio used by regulators for local insurance companies, noting that reduction could release billions of dollars which could be put to productive purposes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The MCT for general insurance companies is 70 per cent higher than the next highest globally,&rdquo; Scott, in his address at PSOJ&rsquo;s Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday, stated, adding that it restricts development.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If we were to simply dial this back to 150 per cent from the 250 per cent, that alone would potentially release approximately $40 billion of capital to risk weight assets that would employ people and we would still be equal to Canada,&rdquo; he proposed.<br /> <br /> The MCT was introduced by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in 2010 and was based on the system used by Canadian insurance regulators to assess the riskiness of assets and policy liabilities of the sector. However, the bar was set higher for local insurance companies by the FSC.<br /> <br /> Scott, explaining that he understood the context of such high ratios to be the meltdown of the 1990s, said that, &ldquo;Capital must have regulation that does not impair growth.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hendrickson, echoing the call, also said that the reduction of the minimum capital test for insurance companies could &ldquo;unlock billions in investment funds&rdquo;. The entrepreneur also added that it was time that inventory and working capital be recognised as collateral.<br /> <br /> Both business leaders called for a better credit, with Scott noting that the ratio of private credit to gross domestic product is a mere 19 per cent.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is extremely low. Haiti is 15 per cent and Barbados is 67 per cent. It tells a story. Firstly, of the credit that has been lent, 38 per cent is to businesses and 62 per cent is personal loans. It is easier to borrow money to buy a car which employs nobody than to find money for working capital to support business growth. One has to ask why?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We cannot solely rely upon foreign direct investment to develop this economy,&rdquo; Hendrickson said, stating further, &ldquo;Business leaders in attendance at the function should look to production and investing in new businesses or recapitalising old ones. The capacity is there to do so.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; the financial markets must be efficient. The markets presently do not allow capital to flow efficiently. We have many impediments to this that must be corrected,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Adding to his laundry list of regulatory reforms needed, the president said the Bank of Jamaica does not recognise accounts receivables and inventory as collateral, despite the fact that &ldquo;business growth means increased requirement for working capital. Thus banks recognise loans for working capital as unsecured, despite the fact they may have a debenture over them while a motor car is secured. This also leads to lack of other products such as factoring to help drive development and growth of businesses&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Reform, he said, was also needed in the area of allowing securities dealers and pension funds to be released from restrictions over participation in US dollar local corporate bond markets.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;No wonder bank spreads are wide and pensioner&rsquo;s nest eggs become eroded through limited investment choices&hellip;&rdquo; Regulations, he asserted, should be &ldquo;constantly fine-tuned to reflect the environment if we are to grow&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389075/237107_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM BOJ gives green light for NCB restructuring http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/BOJ-gives-green-light-for-NCB-restructuring_78537 On October 26 the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Ltd (NCBJ) notified the market that it had received a &ldquo;no objection&rdquo; response from the Bank of Jamaica to planned restructuring.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Bank of Jamaica has indicated that it has no objection to NCBJ`s proposal to pursue a corporate restructuring activity under which NCB Financial Group Limited would become the financial holding company of NCBJ and its subsidiaries,&rdquo; the notice published on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) read.<br /> <br /> NCBJ said it will be proceeding with this activity which will require additional approvals in the coming months, notably the approval of its shareholders and the Supreme Court.<br /> <br /> The group&rsquo;s subsidiaries and affiliates include banking, insurance, capital markets companies and more.<br /> <br /> NCBJ mooted the planned overhaul from as far back as 2013, stating then that current shareholders will be asked to swap their shares for new shares in the holding company when all legalities are fulfilled.<br /> <br /> In April 2016, NCB Financial Group Ltd (NCBFG) was incorporated with NCBJ saying then it would be the holding company both for subsidiaries, as well as future acquisitions.<br /> <br /> Its latest purchase was made in November 2015, when it entered an Agreement with the Lok Jack Family, the Ahamad Family and the IFC to purchase a 29.99 per cent interest in Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL).<br /> <br /> NCBJ has said that transfer of ownership in Guardian awaits the restructuring process.<br /> <br /> The company stated in August, &ldquo;At the time the Agreement was signed, the structure of the transaction was not yet decided. However, the Agreement always contemplated that NCBJ might appoint a nominee to purchase the GHL shares.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> GHL shares were acquired by NCBJ&rsquo;s nominee and affiliate, NCBFG, for $28 billion.<br /> <br /> The group indicated that all affiliates and subsidiaries will be held under the new holding company when the restructuring sought has been approved and executed.<br /> <br /> In seeking to restructure, NCBJ will be following in the footsteps of other local financial groups, which, under a requirement of the new Banking Services Act, must restructure their operations.<br /> <br /> The BOJ set the requirement in order to facilitate easier supervision of their businesses.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13179554/219148.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM Analysis of Jamaica&rsquo;s competitiveness and development challenges http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Analysis-of-Jamaica---s-competitiveness-and-development-challenges-------_78631 Recently the World Economic Forum released the Global Competitiveness Report 2016/17, which showed Jamaica improving its ranking from 86 of 140 to 75 of 138 countries. This was an improvement from 67 per cent to 54 per cent in the ranking.<br /> <br /> A few days later the World Bank released the Doing Business Report (DBR), which shows Jamaica falling two places, in the ranking, from 65th of 189 to 67th of 190 countries. This is a marginal slipping in the rankings.<br /> <br /> Of course what we normally do, when these reports are published, is to look at and comment on the overall ranking primarily, and most times do not take the opportunity to look at the details to determine what must be done from a strategic point of view to address these issues. <br /> <br /> A part of that deficiency may be that we don&rsquo;t seem to set any real targets to improve in these ranking &mdash; as we always have discussions without any real understanding of the details behind the rankings and what must be done to improve in the rankings.<br /> <br /> So we don&rsquo;t, as a country, set ourselves targets in terms of where we want to be in say five years in the ranking of both the GCR and DBR reports. <br /> <br /> As an example, I haven&rsquo;t heard any real talk about an objective of being in the top 50 countries in the ranking in both reports. So a strategic goal could be to say that in three years our objective will be to be in the top 50 countries, and what that will mean for Jamaica. And then we may go further to say that within 10 years we want to get to the top 25 countries.<br /> <br /> This would naturally be what private sector organisations do, as do individuals in their own life plan. But as a country it seems we never create a vision of where we want to be in a defined timeline, and get the population to buy into it. One may say that we have the Vision 2030 objectives &mdash; but the truth is that it is a well-kept secret from the general population.<br /> <br /> To properly understand where we need to go, we must of necessity understand in greater detail what the current status of our economy is. And this can helped by looking at both the GCR and DBR reports, instead of just looking at the headline ranking. Because if one looks behind the overall ranking I think it gives a very good indication of what areas we must focus on if we are to realise Vision 2030, which is just about 14 years away.<br /> <br /> One of the questions I always get is: if Jamaica is touted as doing so well, under the just- ended IMF agreement, then why are we still grappling with economic growth? In fact, even though we have seen a return to growth, the fact is that the average is still not much more than the average growth rate over the past 40 years. The reason for this, I think, can be answered by further analysis of both the GCR and DBR.<br /> <br /> If one looks at some of the details behind both reports, you will see that the challenges highlighted are similar in both reports. Both the DBR and GCR reports identify that inefficient government bureaucracy is a major issue, and the GCR report goes on to highlight significant deficiencies in the justice system and crime as issues.<br /> <br /> Both crime and inefficient government bureaucracy have been the two most problematic factors to doing business in Jamaica for years, and yet we have been unable to address these challenges.<br /> <br /> If one were to really think about it then, the real challenge we face is a lack of proper governance, as both crime and bureaucracy are consequences of poor governance. <br /> <br /> This is a conclusion I had come to in my book<br /> <br /> Charting Jamaica&rsquo;s Economic and Social Development, where it became clear that the real challenges of social and economic development stem from our constitutional politic arrangements. <br /> <br /> It is not practical, however, to address it by trying to change our constitutional arrangements, as neither political party will want to do that, as they want to preserve power. So the next best thing to do, which has been the trend, is to strengthen the institutions around our current political systems, and in so doing remove some of the stranglehold of our political system (read the book<br /> <br /> Why Nations Fail).<br /> <br /> It is this strengthening of our institutions (as depicted in the table showing the five- year trend in the GCR) that in my view has resulted in greater confidence leading to enhanced macro-environment and market conditions. In other words if we did not move to develop institutions like the OCG, public defender, INDECOM, Charter of Rights, and more recently EPOC and ESET, then we would have had worsening social and economic conditions. This would in turn lead to loss of confidence, lack of investments, and further impoverishment.<br /> <br /> So what the table clearly shows is that Jamaica has been improving steadily in the GCR ranking, movng over the five years from the 67th to 54th percentile. <br /> <br /> But even with this steady improvement, Jamaica has still struggled to find any significant economic improvement. What should also be noted is that the more significant improvements over the period occurred when we started the IMF agreement in 2013, which saw the strengthening of institutions (mentioned above) and more oversight by the private sector and civil society. <br /> <br /> If we are to see economic and social development in Jamaica, then we must fiercely go behind the overall ranking and, secondly, put action in place to bring us into at least the top 50 per cent of countries for doing business.<br /> <br /> Even though we have seen continuous improvement in the GCR ranking, it should be noted that the improvement primarily takes place in the Basic Requirements category &mdash; where over the five-year period we have improved 24 per cent from 114 of 144 to 75 of 138 countries measured. However, in the categories of Efficiency Enhancers and Innovation, over the period we have seen a decline of one per cent and improvement of 11 per cent respectively. The problem being of course that global competitiveness means that we have to do well with Efficacy Enhancers and Innovation. <br /> <br /> It is this lack of development in these areas that, in my view, has caused us not to grow at acceptable rates.<br /> <br /> (Continued next week)<br /> <br /> Dennis Chung is the author of Charting Jamaica&rsquo;s Economic and Social Development AND Achieving Life&rsquo;s Equilibrium. His blog is dcjottings.blogspot.com. Email: drachung@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389372/237088_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM JSE stock split approved, Paramount moves to split stock as well http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/JSE-stock-split-approved--Paramount-moves-to-split-stock-as-well_78538 Shareholders of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Limited (JSE) have approved the decision by the board to split the company&rsquo;s stock.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Paramount Trading, a manufacturing company listed on the Junior Market of the JSE, is the latest company to consider a split. This company is proposing to ask shareholders for their vote at the annual general meeting scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on October 29.<br /> <br /> The JSE Ltd advised the market on Wednesday that at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on October 25, shareholders approved to a subdivision of each of the ordinary shares into five.<br /> <br /> The ex-stock split date will be November 4, 2016 and the record date November 8, 2016. The JSE said it will, accordingly, list an additional 561,000,000 ordinary shares, thereby increasing the issued shares from 140,250,000 to 701,250,000.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13237119/224088_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM In Cuba, online media pry open state grip on news http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/In-Cuba--online-media-pry-open-state-grip-on-news_78644 HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) &mdash; Abraham, Elaine and Jose are under 30, and they&rsquo;ve pulled off the unthinkable in Cuba &mdash; they are producing online news, prying open the state&rsquo;s half-century grip on the media.<br /> <br /> The Castro government created a crack in the Cuban media wall, allowing this small revolution, when it opened up internet access to the public in 2013.<br /> <br /> What followed was a progressive rollout of 200 Wi-Fi hotspots across the Caribbean island of 11.2 million people.<br /> <br /> Access is limited. Few Cubans can afford the sky-high connections fees of US$2 per hour and the government only rarely authorises an internet connection at home.<br /> <br /> Still, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists counts about 3,000 blogs and portals dedicated to Cuba that are published on the island or by Cubans living abroad.<br /> <br /> Sites like The Sneeze (El estornudo), Neighbourhood Journalism (Periodismo de Barrio),<br /> <br /> El Toque and the most well-known,OnCuba, are key voices in this flourishing cyber-media field.<br /> <br /> Some of the journalists were educated at the University of Havana&rsquo;s communications school, the traditional launch pad for careers at state media and the Communist Party newspaper Granma.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We all came from classes at the University of Havana, and we were kind of left homeless, in the sense that for us, the state press isn&rsquo;t an option,&rdquo; Abraham Jimenez, the 27-year-old who heads The Sneeze, told AFP.<br /> <br /> Jimenez and his colleagues launched the portal in March. Like other independent media, they chase a variety of funding sources, including selling what they can to survive month-to-month.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Internet access is very expensive, we don&rsquo;t have an office or anything,&rdquo; Jimenez explained, saying that articles and photos are sent by email abroad to be put online.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Without state economic support, we must look for other ways to manage finances,&rdquo; said Elaine Diaz, 30, director of Neighborhood Journalism.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Some turn to paid advertising, or payment for content or a service, or partnerships with other media or nonprofit organisations, or a cooperative financing group,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> At times, like at The Sneeze, it takes another job to survive &mdash; the price of realising the dream of being an independent journalist in Cuba.<br /> <br /> HONEST JOURNALISM<br /> <br /> With sleek homepages, full-screen photos, polished writing and reporting that tends toward features rather than hard news, the publications for the most part are trying to depict the reality of Cubans&rsquo; everyday lives.<br /> <br /> But unlike others, such as 14yMedio launched in 2014 by journalist-dissident Yoani Sanchez, or independent portals published in Spain, like Cuba Daily, or in Miami,<br /> <br /> Cubanet and CiberCuba, these new media eschew confrontation with the authorities.<br /> <br /> We present &ldquo;very honest viewpoints, stemming from life experiences, and we don&rsquo;t want to respond to the combative visions of extremists,&rdquo; said Jose Nieves, 28, the editorial coordinator of El Toque.<br /> <br /> The authorities, who block access to the main dissident portals, tolerate these new sites. But the first rumble of a counteroffensive is being detected in the state media and on social networks.<br /> <br /> In<br /> <br /> Granma, official blogger Iroel Sanchez recently condemned &ldquo;journalistic bias, marked by superficiality, lack of context and inaccuracy, which serves the media war and those who hope to dismantle socialism in our country&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> But the state&rsquo;s messages can be more direct, like the September firing of a reporter for radio<br /> <br /> Sagua la Grande who collaborated with independent media, or the one-day arrest of Diaz, the head of Neighborhood Journalism.<br /> <br /> She was arrested in early October because she lacked an official permit to cover the damage from Hurricane Matthew in the far west of the island.<br /> <br /> The law only recognizes state media and accredited foreign journalists, and the online media operate in a legal limbo.<br /> <br /> For now, the new media outlets present no real threat to the Communist authorities, whether by their tone or their audience.<br /> <br /> In Cuba, only a tiny fraction of the population goes online regularly. And, reading the independent press generally is not a priority.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m probably the only crazy one connecting by WiFi to send an article or read the press,&rdquo; said The Sneeze&rsquo;s Jimenez.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Everyone would rather talk to their mother who left (Cuba), with their brother, or look for a tennis partner,&rdquo; he joked.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389155/237143_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM Food back in Venezuelan markets, but who can afford it? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Food-back-in-Venezuelan-markets--but-who-can-afford-it-_78643 CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) &mdash; Food staples like rice and milk are returning to the empty shelves of Venezuelan supermarkets after a long absence &mdash; but who can afford those eye-popping prices?<br /> <br /> Delia Mendoza&rsquo;s eyes widen when she realises that the price for half a kilo of red beans is 4,211 bolivars, or US$6.40 at the highest official exchange rate. This in a country where the monthly minimum wage is around US$100.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Incredible!&rdquo; she gasps, and returns the beans &mdash; a staple of Venezuelan cuisine &mdash; to the shelf.<br /> <br /> In recent months, the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro has begun to relax its price control system, allowing food sales at market prices in several Venezuelan states and, to a limited degree, in the capital Caracas.<br /> <br /> That is a sea change for a country where strict price controls had been imposed since 2003 &mdash; a lynchpin of the socialist &ldquo;revolution&rdquo; launched by Maduro&rsquo;s late predecessor and mentor, the iconic president Hugo Chavez.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In a way, the government has turned a blind eye to this with all the regulations they have implemented,&rdquo; said Asdrubal Oliveros, head of Ecoanalitica consultants.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This has allowed many companies, many importers to start bringing in products, and those products are being sold at black market prices.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Many economists blame the scarcity on the strict price controls, together with tight currency exchange limits and Venezuela&rsquo;s over-dependence on its vast oil reserves, which has made it rely on imports for goods it once made at home.<br /> <br /> Lacking easy access to greenbacks, businesses are starved for US dollars needed to buy supplies and equipment available only abroad.<br /> <br /> Now that the price control system is crumbling, Venezuelan businessmen are starting to bring in imports again &mdash; but at a high price.<br /> <br /> $17 COOKING OIL<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is plenty, but everything is super expensive and imported because nothing is made here,&rdquo; said Mendoza, a 75 year-old retiree, speaking at a supermarket in a posh Caracas neighbourhood.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Before, I&rsquo;d eat a large plate of spaghetti, but now I go for half so that it will last two days,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Venezuela is paying a heavy price for neglecting agribusiness and food production over the years to concentrate on petroleum, the source of 96 per cent of its foreign currency.<br /> <br /> With global oil prices in a slump, the country&rsquo;s economy is in a tailspin and inflation is out of control.<br /> <br /> The IMF predicts that Venezuela&rsquo;s inflation rate, already the world&rsquo;s highest, will reach 475 per cent by year end &mdash; and with no changes, a whopping 1,660 per cent in 2017.<br /> <br /> The cash-strapped government has even increased the price of household items in government-subsidised markets, which in any case are hard to find.<br /> <br /> The stores lucky enough to sell imported products like sugar, rice and cooking oil set their prices at the black market rate &mdash; where US dollars go for twice the official exchange rate &mdash; to recover their investment.<br /> <br /> At these prices, 500 grams of Italian pasta costs 4,000 bolivars (US$6), a dozen eggs can cost US$3, while a liter of cooking oil costs US$17.<br /> <br /> While a litre of milk in Costa Rica costs $1.50, that same product costs nearly US$4 when imported to Venezuela.<br /> <br /> WANTED: FOOD<br /> <br /> Regular Venezuelans struggle every day just to find food, much of which is unavailable at any price.<br /> <br /> A woman named Judith stands in line for long hours at a government-subsidized market, where a bag of beans costs 280 bolivars (US$0.40) when it&rsquo;s even available.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The problem is that we can&rsquo;t find anything,&rdquo; she says.<br /> <br /> Judith certainly doesn&rsquo;t make enough to buy food from black-market vendors known as &ldquo;bachaqueros,&rdquo; who resell scarce products with gargantuan markups, sometimes 40 times the original price.<br /> <br /> A family food basket at black market prices can cost nearly 160,000 bolivars (US$242 at the official rate) according to the firm Hinterlaces &mdash; or nearly 360,000 (US$535) according to a different group, the Center of Documentation and Analysis.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sometimes we have nothing to eat, we go hungry because there&rsquo;s nothing,&rdquo; said another shopper, Edith, who stood in line alongside her husband Edward.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13389154/237148_w300.jpg Local Business Friday, October 28, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica now ready for timeshare market, says Bartlett http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Jamaica-now-ready-for-timeshare-market--says-Bartlett_78515 FLORIDA, USA &mdash; Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett declared yesterday that Jamaica is ready to conduct business in the lucrative timeshare industry, one of the fasting-growing sectors in the world hospitality trade, which boasted global sales of US$19.6 billion last year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are young, we are new, we are fresh and we are ready to do business,&rdquo; Bartlett told hundreds of tourism stakeholders during a panel discussion on the topic &lsquo;Timeshare&rsquo;s Economic Impact on Destination Markets&rsquo;, on the third day of the 18th Annual International Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel in Florida.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The timeshare legislation was promulgated last year, regulations brought into play, and we opened for business on the first of May this year, so we represent a new frontier with new opportunities and new prospects. So I am here today (yesterday), primarily to begin the conversations for us to embrace some of your experiences and, more importantly, your investments, because we want to diversify our product offerings, particularly in the accommodations sub-sector.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Timeshare is a model in which multiple parties own rights to use typically a resort condominium unit at different time periods. But there are a few timeshare properties in Jamaica &mdash; unlike other Caribbean islands such as St Marteen and Aruba &mdash; which has less than one per cent of the timeshare market in the region.<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s poor showing in that tourism sub-sector has long been blamed, by tourism industry stakeholders primarily, on the delay by the country in putting in legislation to guide property development and to protect the interests of investors and consumers.<br /> <br /> Bartlett told the gathering yesterday that successive governments have long recognised that the timeshare sub-sector is a key element of diversification, which could provide a better flow of experiences that will enable the country to respond to the diverse needs of consumers and visitors.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We recognise also that timeshare offers a great opportunity for job creation in a wide range of areas and for income distribution within our economy that will fulfil the objectives of tourism, which is to provide a positive impact on the economy,&rdquo; Bartlett argued. <br /> <br /> He said he has already identified several coastal areas which have high elevations and &ldquo;certain privacy&rdquo; that are best suited for timeshare business. <br /> <br /> He later told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer that the areas include sections of southern Manchester in the Alligator Pond area; the Treasure Beach area of St Elizabeth; sections between Green Island and Negril in Hanover; and sections of St Thomas.<br /> <br /> Bartlett said earlier this year he met with a number of potential investors in Los Cabos, Mexico &mdash; where timeshare business flourishes &mdash; some of whom, he said, will be coming to the island next month to look at properties that they may want to invest in.<br /> <br /> He added that meetings are also planned for December with investors from the Middle East and other countries who have also expressed an interest in investing in the country&rsquo;s fledging timeshare business. <br /> <br /> Meetings are also planned with representatives of large hotel chains that operate in Orlando, Florida.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are working with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in developing and exploring timeshare investment prospects all across the globe,&rdquo; Bartlett emphasised.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We think that we can benefit from a menu of options and Jamaica&rsquo;s job is to go everywhere, investigate everything, and to make the best choices.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386214/236909_63812_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:00 AM Young farmers get full-time employment from Red Stripe http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Young-farmers-get-full-time-employment-from-Red-Stripe_78296 THIRTY-TWO young farmers from Clarendon who were recently trained by the HEART Trust/NTA under Project Grow, Red Stripe&rsquo;s local raw materials initiative, have been given full-time jobs at the beer company&rsquo;s Spring Plain cassava farm in the same parish.<br /> <br /> Farm supervisor Greg Howell welcomed the effort, stating that the opportunities created by Red Stripe will benefit all stakeholders.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a win-win for the community and Red Stripe. Let&rsquo;s take into consideration that the workers have to commute here and the students have to order lunch here; the money spent benefits surrounding businesses,&rdquo; said Howell.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In Spring Plain there were several youngsters who were unemployed. Some were trained at HEART but remained unemployed. This programme gives them an opportunity to earn a living,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The training programme was a good experience for me, as a young person learning and interacting with different people. I feel good about the opportunity and it will help me become independent,&rdquo; said Natalia Hervin, one of several women in the newly hired group.<br /> <br /> Red Stripe collaborated with the HEART Trust to train the workers. The company says it has plans to train up to 300 more youth as it aims to achieve its target of 400 primarily young farmers in a new commercial cassava market in four years&rsquo; time.<br /> <br /> New farmer Kishan Pinnock said the experience has been life changing for him.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Training was rough. It was quite an experience and has had great impact on my life. It has been six years since I am unemployed. I tried everywhere. This programme makes other young people look up to me and want to earn an honest living to help themselves and their family. My family is happy and amazed,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Project Grow is one of the major pillars in Red Stripe&rsquo;s sustainability agenda. Under the initiative Red Stripe grows cassava for its starch, which is used to replace a growing percentage of imported corn syrup used in the brewing of beer.<br /> <br /> Since its inception in 2014, the company has trained nearly 100 youth in crop production who are now managing about 450 acres of lands which is under cassava cultivation. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385414/236796_63710_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:00 AM From trash to cash &mdash; recycling entrepreneur takes aim at construction industry http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/From-trash-to-cash---recycling-entrepreneur-takes-aim-at-construction-industry_78333 At age 8, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, a reading disorder characterised by trouble with reading despite normal intelligence. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I was told I wouldn&rsquo;t amount to anything because when my brother and stepsister were reading, I was always distracted and I kept on turning the c&rsquo;s, d&rsquo;s and e&rsquo;s backways, so it was also a struggle,&rdquo; Scheed Cole said. <br /> <br /> And a struggle indeed it was after he was abandoned by his parents shortly after entering St Andrew Technical High School, which forced him to become more responsible and to get creative in earning an income to get through school. <br /> <br /> Fast-forward to 2016, Cole now owns and operates a waste-to-wealth company, 360Recycle Manufacturing Ltd, which seeks to add value to items thrown away. The company uses recyclable or biodegradable materials such as plastic bottles, newspapers, styrofoam containers and cardboards to create featured artworks and environmentally- friendly products. <br /> <br /> While the Government deliberates on whether or not to reduce the use of plastic bags and styrofoam containers, Cole &mdash; a trained visual art educator &mdash; is recycling the materials to create flower pots, playground elements, partition boards, curbwalls, blocks, and even plastic bottle housing facilities using a combination of plastic bottles, shredded cardboards, newspapers and styrofoam.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The aim is really to cut the cost of constructing a home between 30 and 50 per cent. So a 10 by 10 structure would cost somewhere in region of $1.5 million to construct; we are trying to get it to you for $800,000 and to create a cooler structure using the styrofoam and the bottles,&rdquo; Cole told the Jamaica Observer. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;All it requires now is a mason with average masonary skills to roughcast and render the wall.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> It was during high school that Cole began experimenting with colours through painting. After completing St Andrew Technical with seven CXC subjects, he went on to the Mico Teachers&rsquo; College and later Edna Manley College of the Visual Arts and Performing Arts, where he studied fine arts before transitioning to teaching high school students.<br /> <br /> But after nine years of teaching at inner-city high schools, Cole left the classroom and ventured into entrepreneurship, starting and shuttering two operations before opening 360Recycle Manufacturing. <br /> <br /> Currently Cole employs 25 peoples to carry out operations. But plans are to double that number as he expands operations to include the reuse of metal and aluminum cans for roof paneling and cladding for homes. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are trying to see what is the largest quantity of waste we can recycle as well as experimenting with the different types of waste. We still haven&rsquo;t created a product for the tin cans, but we are doing our research,&rdquo; the CEO said. <br /> <br /> The process of creating the products is carried out using a repurposed machine to blend materials such as the cardboard and newspaper down to pulp, after which the excess water is removed from materials and grated into a pebble. The end product is then placed to dry and measured to create the mixture for the different product. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The machine was actually used to mix slurry for clay material, so what I did was to convert it and put on a sharper blade on it because there was no machine I could buy to carry it back down to pulp,&rdquo; Cole said. <br /> <br /> Upon creating the mixture for each product, the material is then poured into the molded design and dried before painting is applied. The CEO also employs upcycling process &mdash; where materials such as plastic bottles are used in its current form &mdash; to create most of his playground equipment. Prices for his products range from $2,000 for the flower pots up to $180,000 for a lion sculpture. <br /> <br /> Cole noted that each product design is registered as intellectual property. <br /> <br /> PARTNERING WITH PUBLIC/PRIVATE SECTOR <br /> <br /> While Cole reckons that manufacturing useful products from waste is a lucrative industry, he stressed that he needs help to continue his operation and is calling on Jamaicans, the private and public sector, to partner with the company. Already he is in discussions with manufacturing company, Wisynco, the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Council, supermarkets, hardwares, and the Forestry Department. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;All it takes to be a partner of 360Recycle is to carry your recycled materials here. Sign up with us and be a regular supplier of your household garbage. Also for companies, their entire staff can benefit if they join with us. We carry a bin and have regular pickups and all their employees are eligible for 20 per cent discounts off every item that we sell,&rdquo; Cole told the Business Observer. <br /> <br /> FUNDING <br /> <br /> 360Recycle Manufacturing is registered as a not-for-profit company and was founded in 2015. It operates on Rousseau Road in close proximity to Trench Town and Arnette Gardens, providing training and employment to community members.<br /> <br /> Cole recalled how his journey to create stunning commercial art sculptures began after visiting a fine arts store in France. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I saw some beautiful pieces, and I asked them what is the price for these and they said US$60. I asked &lsquo;do you take Jamaican pieces&rsquo; and they said no because the quality is not good.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;So I wanted to prove that we can give equal quality or better, so I bought a lion for about $30,000 and when I compared my artwork with theirs, I believe my work is far more detailed and its proof that the quality is here in Jamaica,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> He added that the Government touts the slogan &lsquo;Buy Jamaica, build Jamaica&rsquo;, but many small manufacturers struggle to produce at the highest quality. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Like what is happening at 360Recycle. If we had bigger machines to grind up the materials, we could get a lot more done, but we have to be reinvesting from the little sales we make, so it&rsquo;s going to be a very slow growth process.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> According to Cole, with the proper machinery the company can process up to one million pots per day up from the 20 flower pots 360Recycle currently manufactures. He also hopes to construct a research centre and expand his factory over the next two years. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383281/236462_63574_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica slips two ranks in 2017 Doing Business Report, but... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Jamaica-slips-two-ranks-in-2017-Doing-Business-Report--but---_78375 With a new methodology in operation, Jamaica has slipped two spaces to stand at 67th in the world in the prestigious Doing Business Report 2017, retaining its position as first in the Caribbean in respect of the ease of doing business. <br /> <br /> But the World Bank was quick to point out that &ldquo;due to adjustments in its methodology, 2017 rankings cannot be directly compared with those for 2016.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The ranking follows two consecutive years of rapid ascension for the island after it placed seven spots above its 2015 ranking to 65 in 2016. Now at 67, Jamaica&rsquo;s current ranking is still three places better than Panama at 70 &ndash; viewed as one of the fastest-growing economies in the Latin American and Caribbean region. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica made paying taxes less costly by increasing tax depreciation rates and the initial capital allowance for assets acquired on or after January 1, 2014. Furthermore, companies incorporated for less than 24 months are exempted from paying the minimum business tax,&rdquo; the report stated. <br /> <br /> According to the report, Jamaica moved 39 spots in paying taxes, up to 116 from last year&rsquo;s ranking of 155. It added that the country also made paying taxes easier by implementing an electronic system for filing of corporate income tax, VAT and social security contributions. <br /> <br /> A more efficient documentary compliance for exporting by the implementation of ASYCUDA World &ndash; an automated customs data management system &ndash; also contributed to the country&rsquo;s improved ranking. Trading across borders also improved two spots year over year. The report, however, saw Jamaica getting a thumbs down for starting a business, noting that the island made starting a business more difficult by removing the ability to complete next-day company incorporation. <br /> <br /> Additionally, the country moved 20 spots down in getting electricity from the 2016 ranking of 81 to 101, indicating weakened efficiency and effectiveness for a business to obtain a permanent electricity connection for a new construction.<br /> <br /> Across the Caribbean, St Lucia placed second with a ranking of 86, followed by Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominica Republic. According to the report published by the World Bank, payment of taxes improved across Latin America and the Caribbean. <br /> <br /> The joint World Bank and IFC flagship Doing Business report analyses regulations that apply to an economy&rsquo;s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency.<br /> <br /> The report indicates that Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. Since the 2015 report, the researchers adopted a new methodology to measure how close each economy is to global best practices in business regulation. A higher score indicates a more efficient business environment and stronger legal institutions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383286/236595_63571_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Sagicor&rsquo;s first &lsquo;Inspire&rsquo; weekend a hit with tertiary students http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Sagicor-s-first--Inspire--weekend-a-hit-with-tertiary-students_78240 Future leaders should find their passion and follow it &mdash; but with the knowledge that they may later choose to switch to another passion, according to Richard Byles, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Follow your passion. If one passion doesn&rsquo;t work out &mdash; try the next one,&rdquo; Byles advised some 180 students when closing the Inspire weekend at the Hilton Rose Hall on Sunday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Try it, it may grow on you. Whatever it is at the moment you like &mdash; you must try it,&rdquo; he urged.<br /> <br /> He was speaking to approximately 130 specially selected young leaders and high achievers from tertiary institutions across the island, at a Sagicor Group Jamaica motivational weekend at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay on Sunday. <br /> <br /> Known as the &ldquo;Inspire Project,&rdquo; the event was created with the intent of empowering, inspiring and motivating future leaders who have demonstrated remarkable accomplishments in academics and/or leadership at their respective institutions. <br /> <br /> Also important is &ldquo;the power of now,&rdquo; Byles said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is a time when opportunity presents itself and you have to seize it,&rdquo; Byles said. &ldquo;I have followed that strategy all my life.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> A well respected Jamaican businesman, Byles trod a very different path in his youth, telling the students, &ldquo;I was part of a very radical political movement at UWI. From I was 18, I developed a passion for social justice. It helped in my business career &mdash; I talk to everyone. Everyone is a human being, everyone is the same to me.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He noted that he continued on his radical path with his &ldquo;big Afro&rdquo; for a lengthy period. &ldquo;That is the direction I was going for many years &mdash; until I was 31.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> But that changed when he got married and had a child, starting his career at 32. &ldquo;I was behind my peers when I started,&rdquo; he said. But he was also fortunate to get interested in the stock market &ldquo;just before it entered a tremendous boom &mdash; and I benefited from that.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My family life has been my anchor,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He also told the students that they must not be afraid of being different. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;You must be an independent thinker &mdash; even if you are an outcast.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Whatever you are doing, do it to your best,&rdquo; Byles said, noting that even if it is a menial task, people are watching, and your good performance will come back to you in the form of good luck.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You must be able to work with people &mdash; you need to have social skills to get on with life,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> On the subject of failure, he noted that it can come in small doses if you are lucky or in big doses if you are not, but whatever the case, &ldquo;learn from it&rdquo;, he said. &ldquo;And you will be surprised that you will learn more from failure than success.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> While warning that wealth creation takes time, he said, &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got to give back to Jamaica, guys. Jamaica has given you something. The more we are sucessful &mdash; the more we have to give back.&rdquo; But that doesn&rsquo;t only mean money, as it could also be in terms of mentoring or entering politics, he said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We need more sensible, young people to be involved in politics,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> On Saturday the young leaders were treated to a number of motivational speakers on the main stage before heading off to the three breakout sessions entitled: Brand Me, Smart Financing, and Preparing for Work. <br /> <br /> During the main session they were &lsquo;inspired&rsquo; by motivational speaker Michael Maragh, lifestyle doyenne Novia McDonald-Whyte, Bruce James of MVP, Sagicor top financial advisor Loeri Robinson and the Apprentice&rsquo;s first black winner, motivational speaker and businessman Dr Randal Pinkett. <br /> <br /> Later that day, students benefited from Power Hour sessions with the Sagicor executive team who shared their business and personal success stories to help prepare the future leaders for entering the workplace. Executives such as Mark Chisholm, Rohan Miller, Donovan Perkins and Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd were among the senior executives who shared their knowledge. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I hope that I wil see some of you young people working at Sagicor soon,&rdquo; Byles said to the group of 130 top tertiary students, ending the company&rsquo;s first &lsquo;Inspire Project&rsquo; weekend. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383348/236271_63380_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM BOJ says Supervisory Committee for financial sector up and running http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/BOJ-says-Supervisory-Committee-for-financial-sector-up-and-running_78350 The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) confirmed on Monday that a new Supervisory Committee &ndash; a part of the Banking Services Act (BSA) which came into force in September 2015 &ndash; is now in full operation with its own staffed secretariat at Nethersole Place in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Meeting now once a month, the Supervisory Committee (SC) is a broad-based decision-making body.<br /> <br /> It is expected to advise and make recommendations on the grant and revocation of licences; the determination as to whether a person is fit and proper; applications regarding corporate and group restructuring, new products and services; development and enforcement of the Code of Conduct; and changes in the ownership of licensees.<br /> <br /> It also oversees the making of regulations and rules as well as the issuing of guidance and standards of sound practice; the authorisation of arrangements for the sharing of information and other forms of co-operation with other regulators; and enforcement measures under the Banking Services Act, the BOJ outlined.<br /> <br /> The Committee does not appear to have as wide a constituency as previously expected. It supervises deposit-taking institutions which currently are commercial banks, merchant banks and building societies.<br /> <br /> Its role is outlined in more detail in section seven of the BSA. The SC now consists of five people, three of whom are ex-officio members and two appointed members who are independent of the Bank.<br /> <br /> On the Committee sits the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, who is the Supervisor of banks and financial institutions and Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, the Deputy Supervisor (that is, the Deputy Governor with responsibility for Supervision) and a member of the senior executive staff of the Bank with responsibility for financial stability oversight.<br /> <br /> The BOJ said external members who were appointed are Professor David Tennant &ndash; professor of Development Finance, University of the West Indies, and Shirley-Ann Eaton &ndash; attorney-at-law.<br /> <br /> They were appointed, the central bank noted, by the Governor General on the advice of the [Finance] Minister after consultation with the Governor. The appointment is for three years, with the members being eligible for reappointment. <br /> <br /> As to the frequency of meeting, the BOJ said The Act [BSA] does not stipulate how often the committee should meet, noting that currently, meetings are held once per month at the Bank of Jamaica and more frequently when necessary.<br /> <br /> The work of the Supervisory Committee is supported by the Financial Institutions Supervisory Division at the Bank of Jamaica as well as a full-time secretariat, the BOJ said. This division is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and supervision of individual licensees and the system, analysing and assessing requests from deposit-taking institutions and supporting the decision-making process of the SC.<br /> <br /> As to costs associated with the new regulatory committee, the BOJ said the work of the SC is subsumed under the wider budget for supervision within the Bank. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12771122/191714_62256_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Lubricant company upgrades capacity to meet export push http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Lubricant-company-upgrades-capacity-to-meet-export-push_78298 Lubricating Specialties Company (LSC), contract blender and packager of lubricants and greasers in the western USA, says it is expanding its operation in Jamaica in a bid to switch manufacturing for regional markets to the island.<br /> <br /> LSC services independent lubricant brands in Jamaica, Central America and the Caribbean. Neil Crooks, managing director for LSC Jamaica, told the Jamaica Observer on October 20 that improvements to its plant in Jamaica have increased tank capacity to 250,000 gallons and package capacity up to 12,000,000 litres annually.<br /> <br /> LSC Jamaica was registered in 2014. With offices located in Kingston and a factory in May Pen, Clarendon, it serves the local market. With the upgrade, it expects to begin serving Caribbean and Latin American markets on behalf of its parent company, Crooks indicated.<br /> <br /> A company release indicated that the investment in the Jamaican upgrade was a &ldquo;significant&rdquo; one. Crooks declined to disclose the amount.<br /> <br /> Factory facilities, the company indicates, &ldquo;include modern laboratories capable of performing virtually all testing needed. All facilities are also operated under the ISO 9001-2008 certified quality system&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Sydney Thwaites, president and CEO of the US operation, was quoted as saying: &ldquo;LSC invested in Jamaica in order to secure a regional presence to better serve our customers in the Caribbean and Central America. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;With our roots in Jamaica, we believed that we could build an industry-leading, lubricant- manufacturing facility consistent with all of our North American facilities. Leveraging our existing supply chain, technical expertise and global network of customers, sets LSC Jamaica apart from other regional players and those that seek to enter the market,&rdquo; he stated.<br /> <br /> Crooks said in the release that he expected regional exports to begin in 2017. &ldquo;Looking towards 2017, we will &hellip; also be exporting to other Caribbean countries and to the Latin American markets. Jamaica is strategically located to effectively reach many of the surrounding countries, and this is a key part of our business plan as we play our part in building and growing [the] Jamaican business,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383287/236590_63522_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaican Teas gets ready to tap the market http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Jamaican-Teas-gets-ready-to-tap-the-market_78297 CEO of Jamaican Teas Ltd (JAMT), John Mahfood, said Monday that the pending sale of two supermarkets is consistent with the company&rsquo;s plan to present an improved profile as it positions itself to tap the capital markets near to the start of 2017.<br /> <br /> Working with advisors Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd, the company is considering raising some $300 million in a rights issue. The project, Mahfood said, was awaiting the company&rsquo;s year-end results. The financial year for JAMT ended in September.<br /> <br /> The CEO said the sale of the retail outlets will improve its attractiveness to investors, as each was losing money year after year. Bay City in Montego Bay was losing about $12 million annually while Shoppers Delite in Savanna-la-Mar was losing about $10 million, he disclosed.<br /> <br /> Bay City Foods Ltd, a company owned 49 per cent by JAMT, entered into an agreement to sell the supermarket in the week of October 21. Two weeks before, JAMT entered into another agreement for the sale of JRG Shoppers Delite Enterprise Limited, a subsidiary of Jamaican Teas. Both sales will be effective October 31.<br /> <br /> For Bay City, JAMT said, the value of the sale will not have a material impact on its current operations.<br /> <br /> Mahfood said, &ldquo;We sold the fixed assets and the inventory. We don&rsquo;t know what the total will be as the inventory will be valued as at the end of October.&rdquo; This value is not yet known, he said, when asked about the purchase price for each. He also declined to name the buyer or buyers.<br /> <br /> The company, he said, plans to keep its supermarket in Kingston, which was purchased in 2010. It is &ldquo;very profitable&rdquo; and &ldquo;very near to our office and convenient for us to maintain,&rdquo; the CEO told the Jamaica Observer. JAMT is located on Bell Road in Kingston.<br /> <br /> Jamaican Teas Ltd (formerly Tetley Tea Co Ja Ltd) was founded in Jamaica in 1967. The company was acquired by the father-and-son team of Adeeb and John Mahfood in 1995.<br /> <br /> The duo introduced the Caribbean Dreams brand, adding herbal teas which number more than 40 blends today. Some six new products were added in 2016.<br /> <br /> Mahfood noted to the Business Observer on Monday that leading export markets for teas are Trinidad, Guyana and New York in North America.<br /> <br /> JAMT also produces through private label arrangements for a number of other local and international companies.<br /> <br /> After listing on the Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange in 2010, JAMT proceeded to diversify. Its three divisions now are manufacturing, retail (comprised of three supermarkets, two of which are being sold) and real estate.<br /> <br /> The real estate division, operated by subsidiary Mahfood and Sons, develops housing and commercial properties.<br /> <br /> Projects include Orchid Estate for residential housing in St Thomas and KIW warehouse in Kingston, which Mahfood said is slated to be subdivided into smaller warehouses for lease.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We believe there is a strong demand for warehouses,&rdquo; he said. KIW, however ,will fund its own conversion , estimated at around $150 million, over the medium term, he said.<br /> <br /> Sales for JAMT up to its third quarter in June surpassed the $1 billion mark, 15 per cent or $140 million over the same period during the prior year to reach $1.076 billion.<br /> <br /> Sale of residential property units was $48 million compared to nil for the same period in 2015. Net profit for the nine months was $114.935 million compared to $89.61 million for the same period last year.<br /> <br /> Mahfood concluded, &ldquo;We are looking for a much stronger performance next year, in that the cash for the real estate project is beginning to come in, we have paid off our construction loans, the sale of the supermarkets and exports are on the increase.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Funds to be raised from the rights issue, he said, are intended to pay down about $100 million in loans and also cover the acquisition of KIW warehouse in Kingston. The warehouse will cost $58 million. As to the balance remaining, Mahfood said it will allow the company to take advantage of whatever opportunities might arise.<br /> <br /> Jamaican Teas entered the market in 2010 at a listing price of $3.37 per share.<br /> <br /> The company executed a two-to-one stock split in April, increasing authorised share capital from 250 million shares to 500 million shares, and issued shares from 168,708,365 to 337,416,730.<br /> <br /> The stock traded at $4.01 per unit at close of trading on Monday. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383248/236417_63472_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Red Stripe&rsquo;s cassava project gets boost from IDB http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Red-Stripe-s-cassava-project-gets-boost-from-IDB_78356 The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a non-reimbursable technical cooperation agreement with Desnoes and Geddes Foundation during the 2016 FOROMIC (Forum on Microenterprise), held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Monday.<br /> <br /> The funding will go towards a project to improve the livelihood of small and medium-scale cassava farmers, while developing a climate-smart agricultural system, and generate sustainable employment opportunities for vulnerable youth in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The contribution of the bank, with funds from the multilateral investment fund, is US$814,417.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the Desnoes and Geddes Foundation will provide counterpart resources of US$4,012,814.<br /> <br /> Red Stripe&rsquo;s Managing Director and CEO, Ricardo Nuncio, predicts that in four years&rsquo; time his company will be able to employ nearly 500 cassava farmers across the country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;...So it will allow us actually to employ close to 500 direct farmers across our lands, but actually have an impact of close to 3,000 employments when you put the indirect beneficiaries. So we are excited about the project and the support,&rdquo; Nuncio revealed during Monday&rsquo;s agreement signing.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mr President (Luis Moreno of IDB), thank you for the support. This is a dream that has become a reality. The company, Red Stripe, is owned by Heineken, and Heineken worldwide really believes in promoting local raw materials as a complement [to] really promote employment in the primary sector.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He commended the project as it will allow the company to substitute imported raw material with locally grown cassava.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Cassava is a crop that exists in Jamaica from a long time ago, but without an economic viability to make it an economically viable crop. So we are very excited to be a part of this shift and to offer the primary sector an opportunity to blossom in Jamaica,&rdquo; Nuncio declared.<br /> <br /> This project is part of Project Grow, an endeavour by Red Stripe, one of the largest breweries in Jamaica, to drive innovation in agro processing and to translate this into an opportunity for both social and commercial value creation throughout the local cassava supply chain. The project will be carried out by the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation, Red Stripe&rsquo;s corporate foundation, with contributions from international and local technical experts from the Centre for International Tropical Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.<br /> <br /> According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, global cassava production is likely to accelerate over the current decade. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383171/236511_63502_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Dada Holdings makes winning bid for St Ann and Gramercy assets http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Dada-Holdings-makes-winning-bid-for-St-Ann-and-Gramercy-assets_78281 Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation on Friday October 21 announced court approval for the sale of the company&rsquo;s alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, and bauxite mining operation in St Ann, Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Following a competitive auction, New Day Aluminum LLC, an affiliate of DADA Holdings LLC, was selected as the winning bidder for the company&rsquo;s alumina refinery and bauxite mining operation, with a purchase price of US$24.4 million in the form of a secured note.<br /> <br /> The auction was held on October 19. The sale hearing to consider approval of the sale, &ldquo;free and clear of all liens, claims, interests, and encumbrances in accordance with Bankruptcy Code section 363(f),&rdquo; was held Thursday afternoon, October 20, in Missouri.<br /> <br /> New Day is an affiliate of DADA Holdings LLC and served 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 a management company consisting of the former senior management team of Wise Metals Group LLC, which was sold to Constellium N.V. in January 2015.<br /> <br /> Back-up bidder was ARG International AG, which offered US$24 million for the primary aluminum production business &mdash; the &ldquo;Upstream Business&rdquo; &mdash; operated by Noranda Aluminum Inc, Noranda Bauxite Ltd and Noranda Alumina LLC. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13306217/230216_63466_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM 2 new licences, but banking market still small &ndash; Wynter http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/2-new-licences--but-banking-market-still-small---Wynter_78342 Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter says that despite the recent much-lauded issuance of two commercial banking licences by the regulator, the sluggishness of competition in the sector needs to be aggressively tackled if businesses and consumers are to fully benefit from greater access to credit and lower interest rates.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The new licences should help, but I wouldn&rsquo;t want us to leave the discussion there, because it&rsquo;s still a small market, a small number of players, so I think it&rsquo;s worthwhile to study directly the question of competition in the sector,&rdquo; Wynter said during a recent discussion on the interim report of the 2016/17 fiscal policy paper at a recent meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament.<br /> <br /> At the same time he said the Ministry of Finance would also need to examine the fiscal issues that impact competition, such as the correlation between higher taxes on banks and the unsatisfactory interest rate spread across the sector, which is now at 15 per cent.<br /> <br /> He argued that cutting interest rates is just as important as improving access to credit. &ldquo;Both are important. What you want is to have an environment where businesses small and large have more choice about competition and what credit they are seeking to get,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The central bank governor acknowledged, however, that there has been some expansion in credit, stemming from the increasing macro-economic stability which he said policymakers are &ldquo;seeking to entrench&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He said the government&rsquo;s onerous debt burden was arguably one of the issues that had led to crowding out of private sector credit facilities, but that is changing. &ldquo;In fact we now have a situation of crowding in, where the opportunity for private sector credit to expand is there&hellip; we are seeing healthy credit expansion of 12 to 13 per cent, (which is) high &ndash; it&rsquo;s something that we want to preserve.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Wynter cautioned, however, that while things are looking up, it is not enough. &ldquo;We still recognise that there is a problem with ensuring that credit expansion is reaching the broadest group of stakeholders as possible&hellip; improving access to credit &ndash; that&rsquo;s something the BoJ and the Ministry of Finance are taking very seriously. We are looking at strategies that can enhance and improve access to credit.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The BoJ governor expressed concern at the low levels of interest rate reduction over the past two years: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s nothing you can be comfortable with.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Citing some of the arguments to rationalise the current 15 per cent spread in interest rates on credit in the banking sector, he said bankers have pointed to factors such as some of the policies implemented or being implemented by the central bank. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Others (arguments) point to the fact that we have a very concentrated banking industry (where) a small number of institutions dominate, and that they are not competing adequately with each other, and so the banks are exploiting an opportunity to take more from people than they would otherwise,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He also noted that the economy had been in trouble for an extended period. &ldquo;Remember that we are only just coming out of a very long period when Jamaica had an environment of macro-economic instability and an environment where the government through its deficit financing was crowding out the private sector quite aggressively. One of the things that happened as we built up that debt is that there was a crowding out of private sector credit,&rdquo; he outlined.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;One of the results of that higher-level instability &ndash; when you throw in the fiscal dynamics that were really terrible, and you throw on top of that the monetary variables with balance of payments problems, massive current account deficits that couldn&rsquo;t be financed, further borrowing from abroad &ndash; you have higher inflation and therefore higher interest rates and spread,&rdquo; he further explained.<br /> <br /> Wynter emphasised that all of these variables, which are by no means exhaustive, continue to impact the interest rate spread, and that they all require equal attention. &ldquo;We need to be tackling all three of those areas and any others,&rdquo; he asserted. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12771115/191718_63465_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM CAC 2000 ponders way forward after court judgment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/CAC-2000-ponders-way-forward-after-half-billion-dollar-judgement_78302 CAC 2000 Ltd advised the market Monday that on October 21, 2016 the court ruled in favour of X-ray Diagnostics (the Claimant) in its lawsuit filed against CAC.<br /> <br /> The Claimant was awarded damages of US$372,100 ($48 million) and $568,186.64 plus loss of profits of $7,077,874. Interest at commercial rates and legal fees were also awarded.<br /> <br /> CAC further advised that it applied for and was granted a stay of execution of 42 days.<br /> <br /> The company said its legal counsel is reviewing the judgments and will advise of the next steps but, in the interim, CAC will be providing for these amounts (less the insurance amount of $20 million) in its 2016 accounts.<br /> <br /> The background involves a claim made by X-Ray Diagnostics in 2007.<br /> <br /> X-Ray Diagnostics provides x-ray and diagnostic services. CAC 2000 supplies, installs, services and maintains air conditioning units.<br /> <br /> Court documents, in which CAC was the appellant and X-ray Diagnostics and Ultrasound Consultants Ltd were the respondents, indicate that CAC 2000 was contracted to provide equipment maintenance services to the respondent in respect of an air conditioning unit that the respondent had purchased from the appellant.<br /> <br /> The allegation is that on 11 May 2003, combustible material within the fan coil of the air conditioning unit ignited and started a fire which destroyed a section of the respondent's premises as well as items of equipment essential to the respondent's business.<br /> <br /> The respondent contended that the fire and subsequent loss were due to the appellant's failure to adequately maintain the air conditioning unit. In this regard, the respondent alleged a breach of contract as well as negligence.<br /> <br /> CAC 2000 denied the allegations and according to the court of appeal document "averred that the respondent had operated a nuclear gamma machine that it owned in a manner which it knew or ought to have known was dangerous and against specification; and that its positioning and handling of the machine, had caused or was the main contributor to the fire in question."<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer was unable to secure the signed copy of the latest judgment, up until press time.<br /> <br /> The provision of an additional moneys against the judgment is expected to make an impact on year end results.<br /> <br /> The company which was listed on the Junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange earlier this year posted a net loss of $9 million for the third quarter ended July 31.<br /> <br /> The loss compares to net profit of $31 million earned in the same quarter in 2015.<br /> <br /> A fall in revenue to $197 million during the period ($259 million: 2015) was attributed to delays in the sign-off on the final accounts for Braco, among other factors.<br /> <br /> The Braco project is a $3- billion upgrade of a 225-room resort property in Trelawny, owned by the National Insurance Fund and run by Spanish chain Melia.<br /> <br /> In the quarter's financials, Chairman and CEO Steven Marston was upbeat about growth in the final quarter. He said that, Braco aside, the company expected to start the new financial year with over $350 million in new jobs.<br /> <br /> The company ended the third quarter with $147.35 million in cash, compared to $51 million held at the similar period in 2015.<br /> <br /> It also improved assets to $771.97 million, when compared with $562.12 million last year. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383358/236566_63513_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:14 AM Does your company really need key account management? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Does-your-company-really-need-key-account-management-_78326 At last week&rsquo;s meeting with management, Steph, our sales manager, was asked to consider a key account management strategy and submit a report in time for next month&rsquo;s meeting. She dutifully agreed, not knowing a thing about key account management. But what else could she do? No wonder that when we met recently Steph wanted to know about &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; key account management. Her questions were thick and fast.<br /> <br /> What is key account management? Are there advantages and disadvantages to key account management? What should be the tipping point in her decision-making process regarding the use of key accounts? Are there set criteria for selecting key accounts? Boy, did she have questions!<br /> <br /> WHAT IS KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT?<br /> <br /> Not surprisingly, the data showed that about 20 per cent of Steph&rsquo;s customers accounted for 80 per cent of the revenues and income. But does that mean that 20 per cent of her customers should be classified as key accounts? In fact, what really is a key account, anyway, and what is key account management? Let&rsquo;s hear from Jobber and Lancaster (2012).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Key account management is a strategy used by suppliers to target and serve high-potential customers with complex needs by providing them with special treatment in the areas of marketing, administration and service. In order to achieve key account status, a customer must have high sales potential.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> ADVANTAGES OF KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT TO SELLERS<br /> <br /> Here are three powerful advantages to suppliers who employ a key account management strategy:<br /> <br /> 1. &empmargin;Close working relationships with the customer<br /> <br /> 2. &empmargin;Better follow-up on sales and services.<br /> <br /> 3. Higher sales.<br /> <br /> DECIDING WHETHER TO USE KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT<br /> <br /> Expanding the argument of Jobber and Lancaster, let&rsquo;s look at three critical factors before making a final decision on the use of a key account management strategy:<br /> <br /> 1. Is there a small number of customers that account for a very high proportion of your sales? In Steph&rsquo;s case, although 80 per cent of revenues came from only 20 per cent of customers, there was just a handful of really large accounts. Strike one, she thought.<br /> <br /> 2. Is there potential for differentiation of the products or services offered by her firm in a way that would be highly valued by her customers? Was this a no-brainer because product differentiation was uncommon in her sector? Her reality was that whatever new or differentiated products or services her firm offered &mdash; they were quickly copied. But wait... wouldn&rsquo;t the establishment of in-depth communications allow her firm to co-create augmented or potential products or services for a competitive advantage? Not quite sure, Steph didn&rsquo;t offer. Strike two on the inside part of the plate.<br /> <br /> 3. Would there be significant cost savings to her firm? Not being able to think of any, Steph, our sales manager, just had three strikes. Key account management at her firm was out! <br /> <br /> So Steph decided that she would make a no-case submission for key account management. But what to do with the small number of really large accounts? <br /> <br /> Steph was convinced that in her quest to build a powerful Caribbean salesforce she should give selected members of her team special training in consultative selling &mdash; a step above conventional solution selling. These salespeople would have a higher-level discussion, focusing on the strategic objectives of major customers, hopefully to their delight, and in the process extract a greater share of wallet.<br /> <br /> Written by Herman D Alvaranga, president of the Caribbean School of Sales Management (CSSM) the region&rsquo;s first dedicated sales, marketing and brand management college. E-mail hdalvaranga@cssm.edu.jm.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13384472/236514_63448_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Phase out of 30-day CD may have unintended consequences &mdash; treasury and trading managers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Phase-out-of-30-day-CD-may-have-unintended-consequences---treasury-and-trading-managers_78270 Counter-intuitive&rdquo; was the term uttered by treasury managers and head traders canvassed for an opinion on the move by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) to phase out 30-day certificates of deposits over time and replace these with the reintroduced one-year Jamaican-dollar certificate of deposit (CD).<br /> <br /> The comments follow last week&rsquo;s undersubscription of the banks first one-year reissue.<br /> <br /> Applications were opened on Friday, 21 October 2016 by the BOJ for the allocation of $1 billion at 5.80 per cent &mdash; payable in 2017. Just under $700 million was taken up.<br /> <br /> The anaemic response was accompanied by an unexpected surge in US dollar demand, which the BOJ met by selling US$30 million into the market.<br /> <br /> Effective October 3, the bank began to offer 30-day CDs in adjusted frequencies, aiming to remove the instrument as the policy rate in six months and replace it with an overnight rate which was also set on the same date at 3.0 per cent .<br /> <br /> Additionally, the 365-day CD &ndash; issued by competitive, multiple-price auctions &ndash; resumed once weekly.<br /> <br /> While recognising the logic offered by the central bank, which is moving closer to market-determined rates for short-term interest values, the managers are suggesting that the impact may be somewhat lumpy.<br /> <br /> Removing a short-term source of returns and replacing it with an instrument with which funds are locked away for one year might very well cause accelerated dollarisation, as people seek alternatives which will hedge against month by month devaluation and also a recourse to the repo market.<br /> <br /> Notably, the monetary authorities have been trying to cut the repo market down to size.<br /> <br /> One treasury manager noted, &ldquo;People do not want to go that long. Even in the repo market, the average purchase is for 45 days. Most people are going short term because they need the money in the short term. People will end up keeping their money in the bank on term deposits or turn to the repo market.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Suggesting that US-dollar unit trusts might also see more take-up, he said that these fallback positions will not help insurance companies and building societies. <br /> <br /> The planned change poses a problem for building societies and other institutional investors who must &ndash; according to regulatory requirements &ndash; keep their reserves in government paper.<br /> <br /> It may not be possible for them to lock away these reserves for one year as they will be needed periodically to meet obligations occurring within a shorter time frame, and as yet there appears to be no alternative, it was noted.<br /> <br /> On Monday, one trading manager said the undersubscription of the very first offer was evidence of this nervousness among broker traders, although she said she also expected a firmer response for the next offer of one-year Jamaican-dollar CDs.<br /> <br /> The BOJ, in its circular to stakeholders, said that in about six months (at the end of the process) the 30-day rate will cease being the bank&rsquo;s policy rate, 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 said its motivation was to strengthen the relationship between the policy rates and money market interest rates, and effect a more direct linkage to inflation. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11613679/BOJ_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Eight tips when crowdfunding http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Eight-tips-when-crowdfunding_78263 Though crowdfunding has its earliest roots in the 1700s, (the base of the Statue of Liberty was crowdfunded), modern crowdfunding as we know it has since regained popularity in the last few years. It was a splendid idea, harnessing the power of the online community to not just discuss an issue, but help in accomplishing real personal or business goals. <br /> <br /> The concept was simple: One had a set time period &ndash; usually 30 days &ndash; to push an idea, product or cause to family, friends and strangers. If the funding goal was met within this time period, you would keep the proceeds raised, minus any fees payable to the facilitator. If the funding goal was not achieved, the project would be deemed unfunded and pledges left unfulfilled. <br /> <br /> Since then, other funding sites have sprung up offering the possibility to keep funds raised whether or not the time limit was met. <br /> <br /> Three of the most well known crowdfunding sites are GoFundMe, Kickstarter and IndieGogo. However, as crowdfunding has grown more popular, so has the number of sites offering the service. <br /> <br /> Since then billions have been raised for various causes and businesses. Earlier this month, GoFundMe hit the amazing milestone of US$3 billion dollars raised. This since its creation eight years ago. <br /> <br /> Also noteworthy is the fact that only in May of this year did it achieve the US$2 billion mark, hence an increase of US$1 billion in funding was raised in a little over five months. The power of crowdfunding&hellip;<br /> <br /> It sounds fairly easy &ndash; pitch an idea and collect the proceeds. But it really isn&rsquo;t that simple. Many a failed crowdfunding venture lingers on these crowdfunding sites. There is a method to making crowdfunding your product, cause or idea a successful reality. Here are a few key points to consider.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAUSE, PRODUCT OR NOVEL IDEA<br /> <br /> Before embarking on a crowdfunding project, one must have a compelling cause or idea. Bear in mind, crowdfunding is essentially you or your company making a general pitch to a literal world of investors. Why should they put their hard-earned cash into your dream? The first step is to have a cause or product that is worth giving to and that will motivate others to want to participate in &mdash; whether that&rsquo;s a fresh creative musical project or an innovative product or idea. <br /> <br /> PRESENT IT IN A COMPELLING MANNER <br /> <br /> Secondly, present this cause in a meaningful manner. I can honestly say that most of the campaigns I&rsquo;ve been compelled to give to have always been those presented in a professional manner, with a proper marketing campaign of sorts. In most instances, they at least have a video, and rightly so. Data suggests that campaigns with a video introducing their cause actually do twice as well as ones with just plain text. <br /> <br /> Humans are predominantly visual beings, and video is definitely more dynamic and compacts so much more in less time. In addition, video content does well on social media and is always a good option to get increased engagement. <br /> <br /> So tell your story, but do it in a compelling and captivating manner. Let us see how your new product will change the world and more importantly, our lives. Make me enjoy watching it, not want to switch the page before I get to the end of your 1,000-word ramble.<br /> <br /> Otherwise, if video is not within reach, use a few quality photos or graphics that tell a story and make sure they are clear and captivating. <br /> <br /> GIVE A REWARD<br /> <br /> One crucial part of crowdfunding is the reward aspect. Funders are given gifts as rewards for investing early into your idea. The rewards should cater for donations at varying price points. This way, individuals at different levels of giving will be able to, and feel encouraged to donate. The student who can give only US$5 dollars is equally important to you attaining your goals as the person who could possible give US$500 or US$1,000. As they say in Jamaica, &ldquo;Every mickle mek a muckle&rdquo; &mdash; meaning everything adds up.<br /> <br /> GIVE A GOOD REWARD<br /> <br /> On the heels of giving a reward, I urge you to not only give a reward but good rewards. I&rsquo;ve seen campaigns that in exchange for my money offered nothing in return. Or offered something ridiculous or clearly worth less than my investment. This is not a wise move; crowdfunding should not be perceived as &ldquo;free money&rdquo;, but direct access to a potential source of funds. People still want and need something to help them commit to a donation and also in return for their trust and good faith. <br /> <br /> Depending on the donation and the size of your project or product, rewards should be reflective. Sure a gracious thank you is fine for a US$5 contribution, but rewards should start to become tangible even at US$10. Often a campaign offers the product as a reward at some level of backing. However, for contributions that are below the product cost or significantly higher, it&rsquo;s your opportunity to get creative.The reward can be symbolic (a thank you or shout out), digital (a download), the product itself (copy of book, music, invention) or ultra-exclusive (a special edition of your product or access to an event).<br /> <br /> One huge crowdfunding success was by LeVar Burton, former Strek Trek cast member and host of Reading Rainbow. He had one of the best-backed crowdfunding campaigns in history, raising over US$5 million on Kickstarter. His rewards ranged from thank yous and thank you tweets at lower donation levels, to signed headshots, meet-and-greets at Comic Con, him creating a personalised voicemail ($400 dollars), live story-time events with other celebrities, to even a five to 10-minute video chat. For a US$4,000 dollar contribution, you could have a private dinner with him or you could even have him visit your school assembly, for a measly US$10,000 dollars.<br /> <br /> So be creative, let your rewards be creative enough to compel funders to give and give generously to a cause they believe in, but that they are also honestly excited about receiving.<br /> <br /> USE YOUR NETWORK, AND DON&rsquo;T JUST FORGET THE CAMPAIGN<br /> <br /> Crowdfunding campaigns are not jello. They aren&rsquo;t just &ldquo;set it and forget it&rdquo;. They require work to get traffic coming to your page, so that they may possibly give. Use up your networks, push your crowdfunding page on your social media platforms, encourage friends, family and co-workers to get on board. One expert suggests that you even get them on board beforehand as early supporters, so as to avoid the campaign starting at a daunting $0 and zero supporters.<br /> <br /> Also bear in mind that not everyone will give. So make sure to work out how many funders you would actually need to make your campaign successful. What is your success objective? Hypothetically, if everyone gave a minimum amount of say, US$10 dollars, how many people would be needed to accomplish your goal? How many of these people could come from your immediate network? How many would be cold leads (new people you&rsquo;d have to now convince of your project)?<br /> <br /> KEEP BACKERS UPDATED<br /> <br /> And if the campaign is a success, and you do raise your targeted amount, continue to give updates on the process. How have you been making headway and using the resources funders so kindly pledged? How soon do you project they will begin to receive their reward? This in the case where the reward is actually the product itself. Let them know if you&rsquo;ve hit a setback or made advancements on the project. Don&rsquo;t just leave them in the dark.<br /> <br /> CONSIDER CULTURE<br /> <br /> Lots of the data out there is predominantly focused on American crowdfunding sites and may not necessarily be applicable to us in Jamaica. It is yet to be researched what the standard amount is that Jamaicans or Caribbean residents feel comfortable giving. Jamaicans seem to be just warming up to the idea of asking the general population for money towards a personal business goal publicly online. We&rsquo;ll ask friends and family for money, but strangers &ndash; we don&rsquo;t seem to be quite there yet. There have been cases of people seeking aid for treatment for chronic illnesses &ndash; but for a business, I&rsquo;ve found very little data to support it as a grand success in the region. <br /> <br /> www.isupportjamaica.com is a local crowdfunding site, developed by Jamaica National. On their site, they list only two projects as being successfully funded. One of which &ndash; Pickney Netball &ndash; raised US$7,100 contributed to by only five backers &mdash; two of whom combined donated more than US$5,000 of the total. Was it that the cause was not well promoted, or is it that as Jamaicans we aren&rsquo;t there yet when donating for projects online?<br /> <br /> Other donation-based crowdfunding projects, mostly for help in medical fees, tend to get better support.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> SCAMMING AND FRAUD<br /> <br /> There is also the huge issue of scamming. With the proliferation of scamming, and several cases of credit card fraud, individuals may be more reluctant to risk their account security to fund your project.<br /> <br /> Also, not every campaign is actually honest or fulfils their promises. There have been several well known (in the tech world) cases of crowdfunding fraud. <br /> <br /> In conclusion, crowdfunding may seem like the hip new way to get easy funding, but there are so many complexities to be considered when planning a compelling and effective campaign. As with all things online, it will require real work, and a &ldquo;set it and forget it&rdquo; strategy will not suffice &ndash; unless your product or idea is so amazing that it literally sells itself. <br /> <br /> Hopefully, however, as crowdfunding becomes more mainstream in the Caribbean, it will prove to be an excellent way for individuals and small businesses to fund their projects, without having to take on risky or high-interest loans. <br /> <br /> Hanniffa Patterson is a social media consultant and strategist who helps companies to leverage social media marketing in their business. She also trains and lectures on the topic. She can be contacted at hanniffa.patterson@gmail.com<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383257/236527_63464_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM The future of SMEs on the junior stock exchange http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/The-future-of-SMEs-on-the-junior---stock-exchange-------_77765 &ldquo;At the end of the day, small business success should just be a way station on your way to large business success.&rdquo; &ndash; Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, speaking to small business owners in New York recently. <br /> <br /> One of the main questions small business owners ask themselves is: How do you achieve large business success as posited by Blankfein when more than 50 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lack access to finance which hinders their growth?<br /> <br /> One innovative solution may be listing on the junior stock exchange. The junior stock exchange, also called the Junior Market, specifically caters to smaller companies and could be the catalyst for growth needed to contribute significantly to social and economic development. <br /> <br /> No company is too small to list if it has a sound product and potential to appeal to a wide customer base, including investors. <br /> <br /> According to the World Bank, formal SMEs contribute up to 45 per cent of total employment and up to 33 per cent of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included.<br /> <br /> However, like everywhere else, Jamaican SMEs tend to feel the brunt of fluctuating macroeconomic conditions compared to their competition &mdash; larger companies. <br /> <br /> The number of SMEs registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica in 2007 was approximately 22,618. Eight years later, in 2015, business names were recorded at 120, 387, while registered companies stood at 61,389. (The difference between both is a company &ndash; a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act, while a business name is a sole trader or partnership registered under the Business Names Act.)<br /> <br /> So what does this number mean? It means that there is a large pie out there to be shared by SME owners if they know and understand how the Junior Market works and how they can use it to attract investors to their product/business.<br /> <br /> PARAMOUNT SUCCESS<br /> <br /> Currently, there are only 32 companies listed on the Junior Market. Among them is my company, Paramount Trading Ltd(PTL), that can be described as nothing more than a success story after joining the Junior Market.<br /> <br /> Before joining the Junior Market in December of 2012, Paramount was supplying food and chemical raw materials for 21 years. We are now celebrating 25 years in business, and the last four have seen the highest level of growth and expansion.<br /> <br /> Capital injection by shareholders after joining the Junior Market helped to extend PTL&rsquo;s business partnership with Allegheny Petroleum to expand into the production of lubricants locally.<br /> <br /> Paramount was already engaged in that line of business, but as a distributor of imports. The increased capital saw the company becoming sole distributor of Allegheny&rsquo;s Altra brand of lubricants and oils in Jamaica and the region in 2014.<br /> <br /> Paramount and its American partner then launched construction of a 13,500-square-foot plant in Kingston to manufacture industrial and food-grade lubricants. The overall project is estimated at more than $500 million, including construction, and is expected to be operational by January 2017.<br /> <br /> So why did Paramount list on the Junior Market and how has the company benefited in the last four years? <br /> <br /> Here are 6 ways:<br /> <br /> 1. When I started Paramount we had a modest staff complement. We decided to plough back profit to create growth. Before listing on the Junior Market we had 28 staff, and four years later we now have 70 employees. From a government standpoint, Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax will be paid up front so Government is receiving additional revenue from the increase in employment.<br /> <br /> 2. Opportunities for work in participation. Many of the staff at my company have been here for between 15 and 20 years and they have the opportunity of investing in the business. This helps families who will reinvest in my and other businesses, spurring national economic growth.<br /> <br /> 3. Investing in Brand Jamaica. &lsquo;Brand Jamaica &rsquo;has an iconic meaning (the word Jamaica is said to be the 5th biggest name brand in the world). It is easy to decide to invest in Brand Jamaica because of the stable investment opportunities, in particular for overseas investors.<br /> <br /> 4. We chose the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) as it was ranked the number one performing stock exchange in the world by<br /> <br /> Bloomberg. Foreign acquisitions, stronger investor safeguards and a rebounding economy helped the JSE surge more than 80 per cent in 2015; and with the recent announcement of the economy growing 1.4 per cent in the June quarter, we anticipate robust growth towards the end of the financial year.<br /> <br /> 5. Borrowing money. The stock exchange can give you the amount of money it raised. If SME&rsquo;s were to borrow money from a financial institution like a bank, they would have to repay at a interest rate which is currently over 10 per cent nationally. Let&rsquo;s say you borrow $1 million at 10 per cent. Then the repayment would be the full sum plus $100,000 interest. This would be inimical to growth. <br /> <br /> 6. Listing on the Junior Market allows you to employ more highly qualified staff to deliver on the stock exchange requirements. More qualified people mean better work output, and with corporate governance high on the JSE&rsquo;s agenda, it gives you room to have people meet these requirements.<br /> <br /> To be able to have guided Paramount through its evolution from a small company, where I started out merely learning chemicals to reach this point, can be credited to wise business decisions and confidence of our shareholders and the Junior Market.<br /> <br /> HOW DOES IT WORK? <br /> <br /> The first step a company takes is to make an initial public offer (IPO). This means that the company will offer its shares for a fixed price and issuing a prospectus in accordance with the Companies Act of Jamaica. A prospectus is somewhat similar to an annual general statement that states the past and present performance of a company and also future projections for growth/profit. A prospectus can be created with guidance from staff at the Jamaica Stock Exchange.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s noteworthy to mention that the Junior Market does not only serve established SMEs but also start-up companies. <br /> <br /> The Junior Market was launched on April 1, 2009 to encourage and promote investment in Jamaica&rsquo;s entrepreneurship, employment and economic development. It allows investors to put capital into legitimate SMEs whose shares trade on a special JSE platform. <br /> <br /> The Junior Market was established as a result of the collaborative efforts of the Government, the Board of the JSE, the Financial Services Commission and Steering Committee composed of key stakeholders. <br /> <br /> Listed on the JSE Junior Market are ordinary and preference shares, which represent various business sectors: banking and finance; manufacturing; retail; insurance; leisure; services and real estate. The criteria for listing on the JSE Junior Market are as follows:<br /> <br /> 1. Incorporated with limited liability in a CARICOM country; and <br /> <br /> 2. A minimum of 25 share/stockholders holding not less than 20 per cent of the issued ordinary capital; and <br /> <br /> 3. Fully paid, subscribed participating voting share capital is not less than $50 million and not more than $500 million.<br /> <br /> The JSE tracks the performance of the market by maintaining indices. It uses the weighted average market capitalisation method to calculate these indices. The index is calculated by dividing the aggregate market capitalisation by a base divisor. The JSE Junior Market Index measures the performance of all the ordinary shares listed on the Junior Market. <br /> <br /> INCOME TAX ACT<br /> <br /> Despite the relative success of companies like Paramount on the Junior Market, there is a greater confidence block to thousands of registered SME&rsquo;s which could benefit significantly from listing on the Junior Market. This stems from the Income Tax Act which saw a cutback in the 10-year tax incentives the Government offered to companies which listed on the Junior Market. <br /> <br /> Preparing an IPO and listing on the Junior Market is a big step for any SME, but while small in singularity, SME&rsquo;s are large as a block of businesses that create employment and sustain economic growth, particularly at a time when Jamaica&rsquo;s macroeconomic conditions are dependent on their survival. <br /> <br /> Effort must be made to encourage more SMEs to take the bold step by making the Junior Market more accessible and also creating reasonable incentives that would attract them. The future of thousands of SMEs and Jamaica&rsquo;s economic future significantly rely on the Junior Market. Just imagine, 61,000 registered companies being able to expand, hire more people and pay more taxes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Never enough for me, but always enough to share&rdquo; &ndash; Hugh Graham<br /> <br /> Hugh Graham is managing director of Paramount Trading Ltd.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12817432/194469_63421_repro_w300.jpg Local Business Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM