Jamaicans Need to be Self-Critical of Consumption and Production – Assamba


Industry and Tourism Minister, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has said that as consumers, Jamaicans needed to be self-critical about their patterns of consumption and production.
“This is in light of the fact that if we continue to consume what we don’t produce and produce less than what we buy, then we are showing no care for our own future,” she said.
Minister Assamba, who was addressing a Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) symposium in Kingston recently, added that this harsh reality made the event’s theme: ‘Prudent Consumption! Is this the Missing Link to Economic Viability?’ rather appropriate in the commemoration of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15.
The Minister said that the proportionate increase in the country’s import bill was largely due to the fact that the consumption pattern of Jamaicans had become more “foreign oriented” in recent years, and noted that the import bill was more than twice the value of exports.
She spoke of the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the National Commercial Bank Group and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association that launched the “Buy Jamaican.Build Jamaica” campaign, which is encouraging Jamaicans to buy what is produced here.
Mrs. Assamba said that this spirit of partnership between the financial and manufacturing sectors was also evident between the manufacturing and agricultural sectors in the “Eat Jamaican” campaign currently being promoted by farmers and agro-processors.
“It is that same spirit of partnership that we as consumers need to forge with our manufacturers and our farmers, so that all of us can play our part in making the ‘Buy Jamaican.Build Jamaica’ campaign work for the betterment of every Jamaican,” she said.
The Minister further noted that local manufacturers, farmers and financial institutions were sending a message to the rest of Jamaica that “together we can earn our way to prosperity” and that their undertaking is based on the strength of the brand “Jamaica”.
“In fact, so powerful is the name ‘Jamaica’, that the government has had to move to protect the country’s geographic indication brand name, as others have been seeking to fraudulently use the ‘Jamaica’ name and the ‘made in Jamaica’ label in marketing their products,” the Minister informed.
This, she said, was an indication of the premium value of the brand ‘Jamaica’, which has been achieved, not by chance, but by the efforts of farmers, manufacturers, musicians, artists and sport heroes who have been responsible for the name being associated with that winning combination of exotic appeal and high standards of quality.
“It is in this vein that I see the current ‘Buy Jamaican.Build Jamaica’ campaign as taking a qualitative step ahead of previous similar campaigns,” she said.
Mrs. Assamba pointed out that this campaign went further by promoting the production of Jamaican goods of only the highest quality. In this way, the campaign appealed to more than just patriotic commitment, but to consumers that were seeking healthier, safer and first-class products and services.
She described this as another aspect of “prudent consumption” – resisting what was fashionable for what was truly useful and that which gave good value for money.
The Minister urged those in attendance to embark on a path of partnership, a unique MOU between consumers and producers that outlined the commitment of both parties to support each other for mutual benefit.

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