Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce (MIIC)
leading initiatives for a leading economy
With programs that infuse the national economy, the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and commerce leads the path to a resilient Jamaican economic growth
Also known as Jamaica’s Business Ministry, the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce (MIIC) works to foster a national environment that grows, sustains, and promotes industry, investment, and trade. The Ministry is also committed to protecting consumers and implementing best practices across social inclusion, equality, sustainability, and innovation.
MIIC’s mandate is: “To develop policies, plans, and programs that contribute towards GDP, growth, and job creation; to promote investments that increase export and grow foreign exchange earnings; to regulate towards a modern and efficient business and trade economy with a framework of accountability and good governance; and to facilitate Jamaican industries that drive productivity and job creation.”
Led by Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill since early 2022, MIIC values accountability, growth, integrity, leadership, and efficiency. The Ministry and its Minister recognize the great responsibility entrusted to them by Jamaican business owners and stakeholders across the nation- and it’s not a responsibility taken lightly.
Minister Hill begins, “Business is perhaps the most important sector in our economy, as it produces the vast amount of money spent by our government. More than the funds it produces, the business sector employs the majority of individuals paying the largest amount of income tax due to being above the exemption threshold of 1.5 million. In this way, business firms and their employees are essentially the ones who fund the government.
“The people who pay my salary, the salaries of cabinet ministers, the salaries of government bureaucrats, are businesses. The Ministry, therefore, plays a vital role by making sure we enable, facilitate, encourage, and implement legislation and resources to support continued business growth throughout Jamaica.”
MIIC works alongside a number of government and community agencies to fulfill this role, Minister Hill explains. “In government, you never do anything alone. We collaborate continuously with the Minister of Finance, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), Ministry of Labour, Jamaica Special Economic Zone… When businesses want to invest and develop, we clear the way for them. We also work with training arms and organizations such as HEART/NSTA Trust, which ensures human capital development in Jamaica’s labor force, so we can continue to sustain our national economy and stay competitive on a global level.”
The Minister continues, “Of course, there are others we partner with, for example, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) who we negotiated with to secure a US$15 million loan in 2020 for training purposes. When I came to run this ministry, I was careful to make sure that the money we spend on training would extend to certification. Every single person we train is to train to be certified so that they can work in Jamaica and anywhere else. We are helping to make sure the labor force is available, and be expanded. We are currently sitting at around 6% unemployment- this is a historical low for Jamaica.
“We are working with HEART/NSTA Trust to train 300,000-400,000 young people in labor-centric apprenticeships and certification. Many of them are young men because 70% of our graduating class from university are women. MIIC is making sure these men aren’t on the streets- they’re earning themselves an income and filling labor positions for those businesses fuelling our economy,” Minister Hill continues.
MIIC holds sustainability as a key priority, using its relationships with other Ministries to ensure proper regulations, innovations, and developments are implemented in the interest of environmental health.
Minister Hill says, “Another of our collaborative partners is Minister Matthew Samunda, who is in charge of climate change within the portfolio area of MEGJC. A current project in that space is building legislation and regulations that will move us away from single-use plastics. It’s important to note that a lot of work is being done to ensure government agencies align with climate arrangements, that our government is treaty too, and that members of staff are trained in that aspect.”
Local authorities and industry bodies are an important piece of the sustainability puzzle in which Jamaica’s government operates.
“When we look at other major contributors to our economy, such as tourism, we have to consider how sustainability affects them,” he shares.
“Jamaica is a beautiful place that attracts many eco-conscious visitors, and they want to know that their hotel, their charter, and their marketplace is following green policies and best practices. Our local governments and sector leaders need to stay trained and informed so that they may ensure their members are compliant. Otherwise, among other obvious consequences, tourists will not want to visit Jamaica.”
Minister Hill has taken great advantage of modern technologies in marketing, media, operations, and information distribution since arriving in office last year. The focus, he explains, is on export, investment, and global trade.
“We have ramped up our social media arrangement, because that’s how most people get their information these days, especially following the pandemic. Our Minister of Tourism travels the world to find new markets and airlines with can bring Jamaica into their network.”
The Minister continues, “We are following his lead; in October of 2022, I traveled to Guyana with 35 business leaders, and we were received very well. We were invited to come back by senior government members and are doing so in January, this time with over 60 business leaders. We will be attending B2B meetings and arranging export and trade developments. The United States is a valuable global partner in this way also; both for export and investment opportunities.”
Coming out of the pandemic, Jamaica’s economy grew by 8.2%, compared to an average rate of 1% per fiscal year from 1976 to 2016.
“Jamaica is a fine investment destination, and our currency has been very stable,” Minister Hill elaborates. “Our focus moving forward is to build on this growth. Export, export, export is our unofficial motto. Last year, we celebrated our 60th Independence anniversary. I had my researchers look at 61 years of data from 1960, and they found that in the entire 61 years, we had one year of a positive trade balance. This was in 1966- decades ago. In 2021, we imported over five billion US dollars worth of goods and services, compared to just under 1.5 billion US dollars worth of exports.”
“We have a per capita GDP of under 5000 US dollars across around 3 million people. If we continue to sell to only 3 million relatively poor people, our opportunity for growth is very slim. To boost our capability, Jamaica has to sell to the world, which means we need investments in manufacturing, professional services, and other exportable businesses. That in turn requires all of our businesses to be trained and ready to export.”
The Minister continues with a note on Jamaica’s bright future.
“Jamaica may not have the landmass of the US, Canada, China, or Russia, but we do have a solid foundation and committed government on which to build. Our strategy is to follow in the footsteps of small, wealthy countries such as Singapore, Japan, Latvia, and Luxembourg- they don’t have large populations, but their people are highly trained.
To succeed in our export ventures, we will invest significantly in the training of our people. Jamaica as a country is unlikely to grow in terms of landmass or facility, but we are confident in our ability to grow our wealth using an abundance of knowledge.”
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AT A GLANCE
Jamaican Ministry of Industry Investment & Commerce (MIIC)
What: MIIC is responsible for business policy development, monitoring, and evaluation, and gives direction and oversight to implementing departments and agencies
Where: MIIC is headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica.