Business leaders call for legislation in key areas to drive growth Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Local business sector leaders are urging the government to implement legislation on key areas that they reckon will lead to greater and faster economic growth.

The business interests also want the government to partner with the private sector to support areas that will lift the economy.

They were responding to questions at the presentation of the third quarter results of the Jamaica Conference Board Survey of Business and Consumer Confidence in October, regarding what governmental support or legislative changes they think would spur further economic growth, given the increased confidence of both businesses and consumers.

For managing director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Marlene Street Forrest, there is an urgent need to increase the amount junior market companies are allowed to raise through the JSE.

The JSE has long been lobbying for this change.

“Access to capital is key for economic growth and development…and we have put the proposal already…to increase the capital that the junior market can raise at an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or Additional Public Offering (APO). We want to see that happening quicker than the timeline that has been given,” she said.

Currently, the junior market allows fully registered and legitimate SMEs to raise between $50 million to $500 million in new funds from an IPO. They also benefit from incentives, including a full income tax holiday for the first five years, with 50 per cent applied for another five years.

“The other thing is, when you look at new asset class there is going to be a need for us to look at how we change our legislation; how we improve the pace at which these can be approved,” Street Forrest said.

She would also like to see governmental action on the much-discussed establishment of a micro market on the JSE.

“I know that there has been a push with the micro companies, in terms of access to capital, and I would love to see a way in which we can agree to a possible framework to allow for them access to equity capital. I don’t think it is beyond us to innovate in that particular area” she reasoned.

The junior market, established in 2009 accounts for almost half of the over 100 securities now listed on the JSE. A micro exchange is expected to further allow smaller companies earning revenues below $15 million to raise equity to jump-start business growth.

Solomon Sharpe, CEO of Main Event Entertainment Group

For his part, Solomon Sharpe, CEO of Main Event Entertainment Group Limited, sees the training of individuals for the entertainment industry as vital if the sector is to not just rebound, but grow coming out of the pandemic and ahead of future large entertainment events.

“I think there are enough people out there that want to be employed but there is a lack of training. We have seen in the whole construction sector, you’re are focused on residences but we’ve also seen a lot of hotels that have been launched,” he said of budding developments that will need to be augmented by entertainment service providers.

Sharp said his company stands ready to partner with the government on training persons for the industry.

“We have a template ready to work with the government to set up an academy or facility to train about 300-400 needed in the entertainment sector. It is important for tourism. It is also important to the other possibilities that are coming up next,” he said noting big-ticket entertainment events on the agenda for next year.

“We just need a little bit of funding [from] the government. We did that M Academy, and it was a success, so we think we can train more Jamaicans and get everybody up and running to perform at international standards,” he said.

Training would also be “relatively quick and easy,” he said since the length of study does not have to be extensive.

Main Event launched its M Academy in 2019 to provide certification in marketing, events management and production.