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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government is targeting the manufacturing sector as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) economic recovery strategy.

He said that the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has identified areas for investment in agro-processing, cosmetics, packaging, medical cannabis or marijuana, personal and protective equipment (PPE) and medical disposables and light manufacturing, among others.

The Minister, who was addressing the Caribbean region virtual trade mission and networking event held on Tuesday (December 1), said the Government recognises that a strong manufacturing sector creates a clear path towards economic prosperity, and has, therefore, moved to implement measures to grow the sector and strengthen its resilience.

“We have sought to enhance the landscape for doing business through several initiatives, some of which were already in the pipeline but which became more urgent due to the effects of the pandemic,” he noted.

One such initiative is the National Five-Year Manufacturing Growth Strategy, which targets the achievement of $81 billion in manufacturing output by 2025 and an annual average growth rate of three per cent over the five-year period.

Among the main components are improving workforce productivity as well as increasing competitiveness and innovation.

Minister Shaw said that the Government is now looking to implement several key features of the strategy.

The Minister told the meeting that initiatives being pursued under the Trade Facilitation Reform Programme (TFRP) and the Public Sector Transformation programme, will also be key in the economic recovery effort, in terms of facilitating ease of doing business.

“Through this, we have seen the transformation of the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT). It is a one-stop shop designed to enable traders and their representatives to transact all business engagements online through a single portal that allows access to the services of all cross-border regulatory agencies, reducing the time and, ultimately, the cost of doing business,” he explained.

He further cited the National Business Portal, which facilitates multiple business-to-government transactions in one online location. The platform aims to strengthen the investment environment in Jamaica by delivering comprehensive information and guidance to facilitate private investment.

“These are but a few of the programmes and initiatives targeted to ensure that Jamaica remains not just viable, but to ensure that we take our rightful place in global competitiveness and wealth creation,” he said.

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