Increasing access to credit is arguably the most powerful strategy any government can implement to drastically improve upon the social and economic status of individuals during the span of one generation. Financial Inclusion may be defined as “the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society.”1 The World Bank affirms that “…financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity.”2In March 2017, the Government of Jamaica articulated its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), in support of Vision 2030-National Development Plan.
A fundamental problem faced by most businesses and individuals is that the resources available at the earlier stages of the life cycle is inadequate to support the level of consumption required to generate the additional resources in the later stages. This problem is solved by financial intermediaries who take funds from individuals and businesses with excess resources and on-lend to consumers who have inadequate resources.
Accordingly, the incidence of financial intermediation is the hallmark of economic and social progress in any economy. The primary objective of the study is to inform the National Financial Inclusion Strategy by assessing the nature and scope of competition in the moneylender market.
The future is unknown and consequently, risks are inherent. Risks, specifically downside risks, can result in large losses which can deplete the resources of a person. On the other hand, there may be future outcomes which may result in substantial gains (upside risks). Most persons, however, are concerned with the effects of downside risks; insurance is used to lessen the effects of these risks.
Insurance is an agreement in which one party (the policyholder) makes periodic payments called premiums to another party (the insurer) who agrees to pay the policy holder a defined sum (claim payment or benefit) in the event of a specific loss. Specifically, motor vehicle insurance is insurance purchased for cars, trucks, motorcycles and any other motorized road vehicles. This prevents the policyholder from bearing the total costs of losses arising from damage and/or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions, theft of the vehicle or other damage caused to the vehicle. Instead, the insurance company offset a significant portion of the costs.
In Jamaica, motor vehicle insurance is offered by general insurance companies which are the underwriters for policies, sales agents, brokers and account executives. As at June 2015, there are 22 insurance agents, 26 insurance brokers and 10 general insurance companies that are licensed to offer motor vehicle insurance.
The groceries sector makes a significant impact on the welfare of consumers in Jamaica. Intuitively, one would expect the impact to be significant due to (i) the wide cross section of individuals who consume grocery items; (ii) the high fraction consumers’ budget allocated to the sector; and (iii) the high frequency in which many consumers interact with retailers of groceries in Jamaica.
When it comes to Jamaica’s energy options, the narrative is changing! In December 2014, Nestle Jamaica Limited announced that it would cease local production in January 2015, due to unfavourable energy costs; reducing the price of energy has been an unwavering demand of both residential and commercial consumers alike. There is a noticeable shift, however, in the nature of the discussion surrounding the way out of Jamaica’s energy crisis as short-term policy proposals have now been introduced into the hitherto bag of long-term prescriptions.
The purpose of this study is to describe the prospects for competition in the credit union sector regarding the provision of ancillary services. The goal is to promote competition where consumers are provided with better products and services and a wide range of choices at the most affordable prices.
Expenditure on petroleum continues to be a concern at the global, regional, national and household levels. In this note, we seek to identify some of the crucial factors causing the observed variation in the retail price of petroleum products across dealer locations. We focus specifically on two structural characteristics of retail petroleum markets: (i) the number of competing dealers; and (ii) the extent of controlling influence of marketing companies over dealers.
This report summarizes the key results of our study into the nature and extent of competition in the commercial banking sector in Jamaica. The aim of the study is to assess whether any bank or group of banks could be hindering competition; and recommend measures to enhance competition in the sector. Particular focus is placed on fees charged on ancillary services offered by banks. These services include transactions relating to credit and debit cards, bill payment, wire transfer, manager’s cheque, standing order and chequing accounts. The study also covers charges relating to minimum balance violation, in-branch withdrawal, cash deposit and dormant account.
The post-secondary education services market plays an indispensable role in promoting sustainable economic growth. It facilitates the flow of critical information in a manner that leads to a more efficient allocation of scarce productive resources.
Based on the sharp increase in complaints during the period 2009 through 2011, relative to the preceding three year period, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) suspects that a key structural feature of the post-secondary education market may be unduly impeding competition; thereby depriving Jamaica of the potential benefits of this market. The purpose of this study is to stimulate competition in this market by proposing measures to mitigate the adverse effects of impediments to competition.
The goal of this study is to inform the design of policies geared toward increasing Jamaica’s share of the revenues generated by the global tourism industry. Accordingly, the paper’s objective is twofold: to (i) identify the main drivers of competitiveness in travel and tourism (T&T) product; and (ii) quantify the relative effect of each driver. To accomplish this, the paper examines data which compare the competitiveness of the T&T products across 130 countries; in the sense of their attractiveness to potential providers and consumers of tourism services.
Under plausible assumptions, the study provides evidence that the potential benefits from improving the cost of starting a business is unlikely to justify the potential costs of attempting to do so. The key findings of the study are: (a) increasing the number of international fairs and exhibitions hosted by Jamaica is the most effective driver of competitiveness and it is more than seven times as effective as marketing campaigns; (b) lowering the cost of starting a business in the tourism industry is unlikely to improve the competitiveness of Jamaica’s tourism product; (c) relying on a more intense marketing campaign is unlikely to be the most effective response to avert the anticipated adverse effects from the UK’s proposed implementation of the air passenger duty in November 2009; and (d) offering tax incentives and grant concession schemes to business interests are unlikely to improve the competitiveness of Jamaica’s tourism product .
The objective of this study is to enhance our understanding of the pricing mechanism in the food distribution industry in Jamaica. The study became relevant because of the general public perception that prices of food items in Jamaica rise faster than they fall – a phenomenon which often is referred to as asymmetric price transmission (APT) and for which economists have offered multiple alternative explanations. We explore whether and the extent to which the pricing strategies employed in the distributive trade in Jamaica are consistent with the four explanations which have been most prominently researched. To accomplish this, we rely on mainly the opinion of businesses operating at various segments (i.e. importation, production, distribution, wholesale and retail) of the distributive trade. We also utilised price data collected at the wholesale and retail segments of the trade. Based on our analysis of the preliminary data, we conclude that APT in Jamaica may be explained by (i) anticompetitive conduct at the retail level – in the form of coordinated conduct by some retailers; and (ii) relative uncertainties in a key economic variable – in the form of instability in the foreign exchange market. These results are necessarily preliminary and, as such, more forensic analysis must be undertaken to confirm their validity.