JIS News

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  • Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Government is close to reaching an agreement with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) in relation to the imposition of a cess on imported refined sugar.
  • The cess was to address the loss of revenue due to the leakage of imported duty-free sugar, intended for manufacturing, into the retail trade.
  • He said more focus should also be paid to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sugar market, which consumes some 300,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually.

Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Government is close to reaching an agreement with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) in relation to the imposition of a cess on imported refined sugar.

He made the announcement while addressing the 78th annual conference of the Jamaica Sugar Technologists at the Rui Hotel in Ocho Rios, St. Ann today (November 5).

Minister Kellier said he is aware that the announcement of the cess last year “sent some ripples through the system…but thanks to our steadfastness, the strident support of the sugar industry and the constant dialogue with the JMA, I can report to you today that we are near an agreement with the JMA in relation to that matter.”

The cess was to address the loss of revenue due to the leakage of imported duty-free sugar, intended for manufacturing, into the retail trade.

Minister Kellier said the proceeds will allow for the investment in public goods to enhance the competitiveness of the sugar industry.

“Critical areas of investment will include the installation of irrigation systems, research in new varieties and co-products, the expansion of services and the rehabilitation of cane roads,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Minister pointed out that there are some critical areas, which must be addressed in light of the impending 30 to 40 per cent drop in sugar price on the European Union (EU) market.

“The time has come for us to take a look at the arrangements for payment for molasses. One way of improving payment to farmers, next year, given the prospect of an overall lowering of cane prices, is to recalibrate how we pay for locally produced molasses, with a view to bringing a level of parity between the prices paid for local versus imported molasses,” he said.

Minister Kellier said he is willing to engage the relevant stakeholders on the matter.

He said more focus should also be paid to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sugar market, which consumes some 300,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually.

The Minister, in the meantime, cited the need for dialogue with the Sugar Manufacturing Corporation to explore the prospects of increasing the first payment to farmers with a view of putting them in a position to procure inputs for their farms and pay for harvesting.