KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 22, 2020 (CMC) – Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Audley Shaw, announced that the government has set aside J$800 million for COVID-19 small business grants, to assist micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Shaw made the announcement, while speaking at a webinar, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, on Wednesday.
The webinar was hosted under the theme “Creation of a ‘new normal’ – Getting back to business”.
Shaw also encouraged MSMEs to adopt the ministry’s business continuity plan, which is aimed at mitigating against risks and failures.
“What is of grave concern is how prepared our businesses are, to utilise the digital mode of operation. COVID-19 has put a wrench in the operation of many local businesses. Many lack the business continuity plan, embedded with the adaptation of technology, that would allow for their continued profitability and longevity. Businesses now need to focus some resources in this area,” he said.
“MSMEs are the economic engine of Jamaica’s economy and contributed $80.4 billion in revenue in 2018, accounting for 35 percent of jobs,” he disclosed.
“The measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, no doubt, have had a serious impact on these businesses. So, even as we practise social distancing, and as the Prime Minister [Andrew Holness] slowly-reopens the economy, let us all support our small businesses,” Shaw added.