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Jamaica News - Real Estate - Economy (March 30, 2005)
World Bank studying Ja's business climate
The World Bank is now undertaking a study of Jamaica's investment climate to evaluate the island's attractiveness for investment (foreign and domestic) and to identify the key impediments for stronger investments.

The study being done through the bank's Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) - a joint facility with its private arm, the International Finance Corporation, involves a survey of 350 private companies in Jamaica.

The bank says that the results of its findings "will be used to design the appropriate reforms to address these investment constraints".

Among the issues being examined are constraints imposed by:

. access to finance;
. infrastructure services;
. quality of labour;
. importing and exporting;
. conflict resolution;
. crime; and
. business-government relations.

"The survey collects detailed cost and productivity information at firm level to allow identification of constraints to growth," says the bank.

According to the surveyors, the investment climate surveys being conducted in Jamaica have been implemented in 82 countries, including 16 in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

"They provide a unique opportunity for the private companies from a wide cross section of the economy to voice their concerns about the business environment and to provide suggestions on how to improve this environment," said the World Bank. "The survey results have allowed the stakeholders in these countries to develop reform actions, monitor changes over time, and benchmark the country's performance against other countries in the region and in the wider world."

Eight sectors are being included in the survey in Jamaica: manufacturing, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators, construction, transport, financial services, retail services, and IT.

The field work of the survey was launched in September 2004, but according to the World Bank, was interrupted by Hurricane Ivan. The survey is expected to be completed over eight weeks beginning March 21. It is being done by Market Research Services.

The World Bank says that the information collected from this survey "will be kept strictly confidential" and that "none of the intermediate of final outputs of the survey will bear the name of the participating firms or individuals and your firm cannot in any way be identified in the results".

An analytical report will be prepared based on the survey results and made available to the public.

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