Business leaders say ENDS can bring more informal operators into formal economyMonday, April 05, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Business sector leaders say the E-commerce National Delivery System (ENDS) can potentially assist in revolutionising economic activity in Jamaica, by facilitating the transition of more informal operators into the formal sector.
ENDS is a partnership between the Government and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).
The programme allows the quick service industry and delivery operators registered on the web-based platform to operate until midnight during the hours of the curfew, which has been imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.
Pilots got underway in Portmore, St Catherine on March 26, and in Kingston and Montego Bay, St James on April 2.
Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) President, Michael Leckie, said that the initiative augurs well for commercial activity, in terms of enhancing service delivery and regularising the operations of informal entrepreneurs.
“It is the best way forward, especially for persons in the food and restaurant industry, especially the corner shops. If we can encourage and facilitate delivery services for customers, who only need to place a call to an individual or establishment, in light of what we are now experiencing with the rate of COVID-19 infections and the resulting curfews to reduce the spread, then that's the best route to go,” he said.
Leckie said he also believes that more informal operators will be encouraged to regularise their operations.
“I believe that where persons see the benefits to be derived, we will have more individuals, who are operating informally buying into the concept and being more convinced that they can move from informal to becoming formal,” he said.
Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) President, Richard Pandohie, described ENDS as an “excellent initiative,” noting “I think it is part of the whole progress towards getting (informal businesses) registered.”
“You have to be registered (to participate)… and I think it also augurs well in the Government's thrust towards transitioning Jamaica to a fully digital economy,” he said.
Noting that the concept is already being successfully utilised in commerce locally, Pandohie added ENDS represents the format's elevation to the national level.
“I think it's a (big) move, and I really hope the vendors and other stakeholders, really capitalise on it. I think they'll be really (amazed) by their successes in doing so,” he said.
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) President, Lloyd Distant Jr, also noted that in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19 “it's good to see something like ENDS being developed,” adding “we hope that it delivers the kind of benefits that are expected.”
For his part, business analyst, Warren McDonald, said that the decision to introduce the initiative indicates that “we're moving in the right direction,” as it will serve to regularise the operations of more informal entrepreneurs.
“It's a good idea and we certainly should strive for its success,” he added.
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