Get on the ENDS today

THE Government will today begin the roll-out out of the registration for its much-vaunted E-commerce National Delivery System (ENDS) which is designed to enable the quick service industry to continue operating during the hours of the COVID-19 curfew.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security Matthew Samuda told a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday that the registration will pave the way for the start of the pilot of the ENDS tomorrow.

“Persons will be able to start applying for participation tomorrow [today], and those applications will be reviewed by the SDC [Social Development Commission], the Portmore Municipal Authority, the Transport Authority in the case of the transport operators, and indeed the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force], to ensure that these are compliant businesses,” said Samuda.

“As with all pilots we expect some successes [and] we expect to have some difficulties. We will work collaboratively to ensure that the prime minister’s vision does come to life and that we are able to ensure that commerce continues in a manner that the country can be proud of, and in a manner that is reflect[ive of] how other more developed nations have conducted themselves during the period of curfew,” added Samuda.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness outlined his vision for the ENDS during a virtual media briefing.

At that time Holness said the ENDS was developed through a joint effort between a Cabinet subcommittee and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ). He said that businesses and delivery operators registered on the ENDS platform would be allowed to continue operating until midnight during the period when a curfew is in place.

Holness argued that the ENDS would be fully inclusive and would, “enable the smallest operator — the vendor, the jerk chicken man, your favourite fish vendor — to participate”.

Yesterday Samuda underscored that provisions have been made to ensure that micro, small and medium-size enterprises would benefit from the digital system.

According to Samuda, a number of State agencies are already on the ground in Portmore helping small operators to set up the system and this will be bolstered by other entities, including members of the PSOJ.

“Our larger private sector companies have also agreed to adopt small businesses, so a pan chicken man who is near to a larger business will find that there is outreach taking place between these smaller businesses and the PSOJ member to help them on their digital transformation,” said Samuda.

He underscored that not every business in Portmore will be connected to the ENDS come tomorrow but every effort will be made to bring others on board in quick time.

In utilising the ENDS, customers will be able to choose from listed vendors and pay for their orders via a debit/credit card or a top-up voucher.

Delivery drivers registered on the ENDS platform will be issued with a digital passport, in the form of a QR code, to present to the police in the event that they are stopped during the curfew periods.

In the meantime, Samuda said there is no additional spending yet by the Government to roll out the ENDS.

He said the cost for the information technology for the system is being underwritten by the private sector, with the State agencies involved participating as part of their normal operations.

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