Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Jamaica Trade Information Portal will significantly improve the ease of doing business in the country, while creating an environment that facilitates greater trading opportunities.
With this portal, Jamaica will have a single authoritative trade information source for businesses to easily access information they need at any time. It will be managed by the Trade Board Limited (TBL).
The portal is expected to go live on May 16, 2019 and will be the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. It can be accessed at http://www.jamaicatradeportal.gov.jm.
The Prime Minister was given an update on the portal at his offices in St. Andrew on April 26, from members of the implementation team.
“Trade across borders was one of the lowest scores in our ease of doing business and I have been speaking about it for a long time, and I am happy to see that there is a tangible move on the part of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries to have this done,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister noted that easily accessible and manipulated information is critical to trade and improving Jamaica’s business environment, adding that the marketing and advertising of the portal is crucial, so that more persons will utilise it once its goes live, instead of being “heavily reliant on picking up the phone and calling someone”.
Mr. Holness said the design and creation of the portal is a very important step towards transitioning Jamaica to a digital society.
“In doing that transition, it is absolutely important that there is integration with all the ministries and all the services, because, inevitably, the services that Government provides will be more and more virtual in nature, rather than physical, and the population needs to get used to this idea that information is going to be served to everyone and you will have to be information literate to be able to navigate the information,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that as a society, “we have not yet totally embraced information technology, and the transformation to a digital society will take some time.”
Meanwhile, Chief Information Officer, Jamaica Trade Board, Carl Morgan, informed that while registration is not a requirement to use the portal, customers who register will be notified once changes are made or additional information is updated to the portal.
Team Lead, Jamaica Trade Information Portal, and Associate Director, ECORYS, UK, Trevor O’Reagan, noted that information was received from approximately 34 ministries, departments and agencies to populate the portal.
For his part, President, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), Metry Seaga, gave a commitment that he would be encouraging members of his association to utilise the portal.
The Jamaica Trade Information Portal project was launched last year during a joint ceremony of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
It will provide Jamaican export and import businesses with the commercial responsiveness and agility they need to become more competitive in the global market.
The portal aims to provide transparency and predictability of trade procedures, increase compliance levels as well as reduce the cost of doing business for traders.
In turn, Jamaica will satisfy its transparency obligations under Article 1 of the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which deals with making information available through the Internet.
The project is being funded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC)/World Bank Group and executed by a team of consultants from the ECORYS and Lumin consortium.
The portal will bring export and import-related regulatory information and step-by-step guidance on a single platform to allow traders, investors and consumers a smoother interface with the regulatory and procedural steps needed to facilitate their businesses, ultimately driving collective economic growth.
The Jamaica Trade Information Portal will be connected to the Government’s portal http://www.gov.jm.
Source: JIS News