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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, called for banks to invest more in the manufacturing sector to help the country produce its way out of the economic crisis.
While expressing full confidence in Jamaica’s ability to survive the global economic downturn, the Minister said that banks, through their lending policies, must show greater confidence in the productive ability of the people.
“The banks have to change their attitude. They have to begin to understand that they must take a lower margin and give the business producing sector of this country a chance, because it is in their own interest,” the Minister stated, as he addressed the press launch of ‘Expo 2009’ yesterday (May 27) at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay.
According to the Investment Minister, it is time that the banks share more of the risks being experienced by the country’s manufacturers, noting that for too long, the country has been allowed to engage in a type of economic activity that creates wealth without any hard productive work being done.
“It is time that we share the risks, that is what I think; that is what (the Government) supports. They must at some stage, while seizing the opportunity to take advantage of interest from paper, they must begin to understand that a country’s wealth lies in its ability to put its people to work, and to produce and to export and earn international currency,” he stated.
He noted that more money has been invested in paper, earning interest rates and returns on investments “that exceed anything that one could imagine in the manufacturing sector,” which has led to a decline in manufacturing.
The expo, which is being staged by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the 13th year, is slated for June 26 to 28 at the Cruise Ship Terminal, Montego Freeport.
The three-day event will be held under the theme: ‘Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit’.