Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce Karl Samuda met with Executives of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) as part of an initiative to strengthen consultations with that sector and to resolve issues as they arise.
The meeting, held at the Ministry, discussed a range of issues critical to the sector including energy costs, factory space and opportunities under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and followed a letter to Minister Samuda in which the Association raised concern about matters affecting the efficient operation of the productive sector.
The Minister urged the Manufacturers to take advantage of benefits under the CBI facility which allows for preferential treatment of Jamaican exports to the United States. He pointed to a number of items that may be exported to the United States under the CBI Initiative, including leather-craft and some agro-industry products. He said while Government is prepared to implement systems to improve access, it was important that the productive sector becomes knowledgeable about the opportunities under the CBI facility and exploit these to the fullest.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), in discussion with members of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), at a meeting on October 29 at the Ministry in New Kingston. The discussion, which covered a wide range of issues critical to the sector, including energy costs, factory space and opportunities under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, followed a letter to Minister Samuda, in which the Association raised concerns about matters affecting the efficient operation of the productive sector.
To Mr. Samuda’s right is President of the JMA, Omar Azan and to his left are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Reginald Budhan; and Director of Policy in the Ministry, Andrene Collings.
In charting the way forward, Minister Samuda gave the firm undertaking that he, along with key technocrats in his Ministry, will implement a programme of monthly meetings with the JMA Executive to iron out any challenges the Manufacturing sector may face.
In relation to energy costs, the Minister promised to convene a meeting with the JPS, the Ministry of Mining & Energy, the OUR, the Consumer Affairs Commission and the Fair Trading Commission to clarify the matter of the electricity rates being charged to Jamaica’s productive sector.
On the matter of factory space, Minister Samuda told the JMA Executives that he recognizes the implications for job loss when businesses which are unable to pay rent are forced to close. As a result, he said, Factories Corporation of Jamaica exercises discretion in this regard, and is prepared to divide large factory spaces to accommodate small manufacturers who can’t utilize a large factory space.