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JMEA calls for gov't to 'act now' to re-set productive sectors

Jamaica Observer 2020-03-26 03:28:26

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) is urging the government to make use of the “opportunity” that the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents – to strengthen and deepen the supply chain for manufacturing, export and agricultural production.  

In a news release, the JMEA said that if the government moved with urgency and decisiveness, it could improve the country's food and nutrition security, diversify the manufacturing base, expand export and reduce import dependency.

“The service sector has been the area of focus and has gotten the bulk of the support, but this crisis demonstrates that our economy is vulnerable and needs quality diversification,” the JMEA said.

“We must act now; this is too good an opportunity to miss to re-set the productive sectors. Let us work to bring in raw materials and do more value-added processing to replace imports.  As a nation, we have become complacent and prepared to be importers of everything. The productive sector (manufacturers, farmers and exporters) faces unwieldy bureaucracy and cost, but we now have an opportunity to remove the barriers and let Jamaica start producing again,” the association continued.

Meanwhile, the JMEA commended the government for putting in place “a myriad of social and business interventions to support our students, the elderly, the poor and our micro and small businesses”. 

The association also applauded the introduction of two grant programmes, valued at up to J$2 billion, which will assist micro businesses and the tourism sector with an injection of funds to remain viable and recover quickly.

“We hope consideration will be given to extend this to manufacturers who have a high percentage of their businesses in the tourism sector,” the JMEA said.