Updated on : 26-04-2019
MINISTER of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has called on Government agencies and departments to move with a greater sense of urgency to facilitate trade and the private sector's need for a more responsive Government.
Minister Shaw, who was addressing the first general meeting of the Trade Facilitation Task Force, held recently at the ministry's St Lucia Avenue offices in Kingston, presented and discussed the major initiatives of Jamaica's Trade Facilitation Reform Programme.
“We are going to put teeth into the recommendations for trade facilitation. This is the year for action,” Shaw said as he urged all stakeholders to improve the pace of implementation of the recommendations for reform.
He stressed that a responsive and enabling Government is the purview of all departments, agencies and stakeholders, toward facilitating ease of trade and business, particularly in circumventing the bureaucracy that local and overseas traders and investors encounter.
“Government cannot work efficiently unless all the arms of Government buy into the need for expedition,” Shaw told the gathering of private sector interests and Government agency and department heads.
The minister, meanwhile, has tasked the acting permanent secretary, Dermon Spence, to assist in getting a status report on all the recommendations that have been put forward by the task force, in a bid to fast track their full implementation.
The meeting was also attended by Minister Fayval Williams of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. She reiterated the importance of trade facilitation to Jamaica's economic growth and underscored the importance of ensuring positive return on the investment being made to improve the systems and processes in trade. The general meeting, which was chaired by Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts-Walker, who is the deputy chairman of the task force, highlighted initiatives geared towards the streamlining of inspections at ports of entry, creating a paperless environment for permits, inspection and release of goods, the development of the Electronic Single Window for Trade and the creation of a Trade Information Portal, with the latter slated to be launched by mid-2019.
Patricia Francis, chairman of the task force, renewed her call for border regulatory agencies to move with alacrity in pursuing the reform agenda, given Jamaica's positioning as a logistics hub. The Trade Facilitation Task Force is comprised of representatives from the private sector and ministries, departments and agencies.
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