JIS News

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stated that she will be keeping a close watch on the sale of cement to the construction industry to ensure that the benefits of lower prices for the product arising from the waiver of import duties are passed on to consumers. She was speaking on Saturday (May 20) at the 10th Anniversary and Awards Ceremony of ARC Systems Limited, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said that she had been closely observing developments in the construction sector and that it had been anticipated that there would have been some improvement in the availability of cement following the initial reduction in duties. She said that instructions were given for the tariff on imported cement to be waived for a period of one year, when it became apparent that this was not the case.
The Prime Minister said that this initiative should enable importers to better plan their strategies over a longer period. She therefore welcomed the announcement by the President and Chief Executive Officer of ARC Mr. Norman Horne, that his company would recommence its distribution of cement as of next month.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister is urging the segment of the distributive trade involved in the supply of commodity goods, to remain on high alert as the hurricane season approaches. She said that Commerce Minister the Hon. Phillip Paulwell has met with representatives of the sector to ensure that adequate supplies of commodity goods will be in place throughout the season.
Mrs. Simpson Miller commended ARC President Norman Horne for taking the risk to become involved in the manufacturing and distributive sectors in Jamaica. She said this has resulted in the creation of new jobs and the employment of persons particularly from inner city communities. She said the government would continue to provide the necessary policy framework for investment and productive activity. She further urged that companies be fair to employees and pay their requisite dues to the state.
ARC systems Limited was started in 1996 and is the largest distributor of various types of manufactured and hardware items in Jamaica including zinc, nails, lumber and steel. The company began with five employees and now employs 200 workers. The ARC President said that the success of his company was an indication that the manufacturing sector was alive and well in Jamaica.