Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government is serious about changing Jamaica’s image as a place to do business.
He noted that his Ministry is working assiduously on a number of initiatives geared at achieving this goal.
Among them, he said, is improving the country’s ranking in the ‘Doing Business Report’ as well as enhancing efficiency levels and making Jamaica a more attractive investment environment. “We want to send a clear signal to the rest of the world that Jamaica is ready for business,” Mr. Hylton said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), ‘e-JIPO’ digitisation programme on Thursday (July 12)at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO) headquarters in New Kingston.
The Minister lamented that in spite of Jamaica’s many achievements over the last 50 years, the country still ranks low in the areas of efficiency and competiveness based on global reports. The 2012 World Bank ‘Doing Business Report’, which investors use as the barometer to determine the attractiveness of the business environment in a country, places Jamaica at 88 out of 183 countries surveyed.
Mr. Hylton said it is the government’s mission to not only change this image of Jamaica, but to also revitalise and remodel the business environment. “Many countries that have achieved a higher ranking on the ‘Doing Business Report’ have retooled, reorganised and undertook a number of initiatives, including simplifying registration formalities and introducing or improving online procedures,” he pointed out.
He stated that JIPO’s new digitisation programme, e-JIPO, is in line with the government’s plans to improve online procedures and create a hassle-free business environment.
The programme, which will be implemented in four phases over a three-year period at an estimated cost of $8 million, will see the conversion of over 30,000 files to digital format, making them available online to clients locally and overseas.
“This (new programme) means that if I am a Jamaican living in Timbuktu and want to start a business and need to register a trademark, I no longer have to physically come into the JIPO office, or contact JIPO to do the search on my behalf. I can do it myself from anywhere in the world,” Mr. Hylton stated.
He said this move will undoubtedly lead to significant improvements in the way JIPO does business, and ultimately, the perception of how Jamaica does business.
Meanwhile, Executive Director, JIPO, Carol Simpson, noted that the implementation of the e-JIPO digitisation programme is part of the agency’s efforts to ensure that it contributes to the enhancement of business efficiency for all its clients.
She noted that one of the objectives of the e-JIPO programme is to achieve full online services for all clients, both locally and overseas.
JIPO, an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, was established in January 2001 to provide a central focal point for the administration of Intellectual Property (IP) in Jamaica.
The agency has a mandate to administer a number of intellectual property systems in Jamaica including, copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; industrial designs; patents; layout-designs (topographies); new plant varieties; and traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.
The services offered and activities carried out by JIPO are geared towards enhancing the capacity of individual creators and innovators, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), corporations and institutions, to create wealth through the acquisition and maintenance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter