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Jamaica Still Poised For Growth

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Despite obvious challenges, Jamaica is poised for continued growth, as evidenced by the achievement of 1.5 per cent of GDP growth over the past year, according to Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern, during his opening remarks at the recently concluded Mona School of Business (MSB) Roundtable 2011.

Supporting the Minister’s optimism, GraceKennedy’s CEO, Douglas Orane, stated that although he viewed the current business climate with “quiet apprehension”, following the severe global economic crisis, Jamaican entrepreneurship has emerged alive and well.

The forum which was held under the theme: Organizational Renewal: – from Recession to Recovery and Growth”, including participation from captains of industry from companies as GraceKennedy, Sagicor, Jamaica Broilers and Lasco.

The consensus was that the high cost of energy was one of the greatest threats to the competitiveness of Jamaican products.

This general sentiment was reinforced by Jamaica Broilers’ Christopher Levy, who focused his presentation on what he described as, “the tremendous challenge being faced by the productive sector because of high energy cost”.

“The current cost of US 30 cents per kilowatt hour could soon rise to 40 cents, making any level of profitable productivity almost an impossibility,” he said.

Opposition Spokesman on Industry and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, who also addressed the forum, stated that what is necessary is genuine private/public sector participation, identification of an appropriate mix of energy sources and recognition of the importance of micro, small and medium-sized businesses to the overall growth of the economy.

Mr. Orane, said he was pleased to see that the disparity between “town and gown,” which described a separation between academia and the productive sector during the 1970s, had come to an end and that, through the Roundtable, both parties were now working together.

Mr. Orane also suggested that there were many success stories to be told of heroes in the manufacturing sector, and that their stories needed to be told to spur others to similar effort.

Managing Partner, Deloitte Jamaica, Audley Gordon, pointed out that his company enjoys a long history of providing practical solutions to Caribbean firms, through its Management Consulting arm.

“We see this Roundtable as the perfect opportunity for our firm to assist local companies and their leaders improve their strategy and operations, the ultimate outcome of which will be a significant improvement in the overall performance of their business,” he said.

The Roundtable is an annual MSB forum, where organizational leaders from the private and public sectors meet in dialogue with international and local experts, seeking to uncover workable solutions to some of their most pressing challenges.

The 2011 Forum was presented in association with Deloitte, and Turnaround Management; with the Spanish Court Hotel and the Gleaner Company as sponsors.

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