Tue | Nov 24, 2020

Int’l agency to fund programme for workers’ transition into formal sector

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2020 | 12:12 AM
Audley Shaw
Audley Shaw

The Ministries of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) and Agriculture and Fisheries will soon launch a programme targeted at workers operating informally in household services, agriculture and fisheries to aid their transition to the formal economy.

The programme to Support the Transition to Formality in the Household Services, Agriculture and Fisheries sectors in Jamaica will be financed by grant funding of US$500,000 from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), as agencies of MIIC and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOAF) tasked with business development and technical support of farmers, will lead the initiative on the ground.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Audley Shaw, has welcomed the intervention of the ILO and noted the commitment of the Government to ensure that the programme is successful.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of representatives of the ILO, MIIC and MOAF yesterday, Shaw thanked the ILO for its technical and financial support, noting the programme “can be a major point of departure for increased productivity and wealth creation in Jamaica”.

“One of the problems with informality is that it predisposes operators to a lack of access to finance as well as other resources such as technology that can make them more productive. This project is, therefore, a significant element that can lead to a major transitioning of the Jamaican economy,” Shaw said.

State Minister for the MIIC, Dr Norman Dunn, who represented Agriculture Minister Floyd Green, also noted the impact the programme will have on productivity and echoed the ministry’s readiness to work with the ILO towards making the initiative successful.

“This project is very important, especially now in light of COVID-19, to improving trade opportunities and we look forward to having the programme completed within the period,” Dunn said.

Director of the ILO’s Caribbean Office, Dennis Zulu, noted the ILO’s commitment to working with Jamaica to achieve the objectives of the intervention. “We are raring to go,” he said.

The technical assistance and support programme aims to transform 100 registered farmers into formal operators.

Both ministries will work with the ILO on the preparatory aspects of the programme with a view to kick-starting the 12-month intervention by January 2021.