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Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has said that the Ministry has a direct responsibility to steward the development of the productive sector and the management community. This, he said, is in an effort to ensure that domestic and international investors attract incentives, which lead to the development of something fundamental.
“The incentive must lead to the creation of wealth, not just giving a person a job but the development of the productive sector and the people who can produce and satisfy the demands of the companies that you give incentives to,” he noted, adding that “it is not good enough to say well we are not producing a certain value, a certain quality, you are not competitive and you cannot produce at a certain volume level”.
Minister Samuda was addressing the Programme for Partnership Meeting: Upcoming International Accreditation luncheon at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston yesterday (July 24).
He pointed out that the combined efforts within the sector should ensure that the structures are established, which would enable the sector to compete with the rest of the world but at the same time, ensure that companies or individuals who receive incentives must understand that “at the moment that a local producer is up to scratch, they must not be ignored and they must be a part of the process of development.”
The Minister informed that a department has been established in the Ministry, headed by Andrene Collins, to interface with the investing community and monitor the development within that community to see the extent to which output is increasing, and efficiency and competitiveness are enhanced.
This information, he explained, is then related to those who are receiving incentives “and who ought to be buying from them locally, that is one of the primary focus of that sector and I want that relationship to be one that works directly with me so that I can get a hand on exactly how the productive sector of the country is developing”.
Minister Samuda asserted that Jamaica would not develop as a country, and would never satisfy the demands for jobs if local hands remained idle while foreigners do the production and export their products to Jamaica for consumption. “No country can develop that way and whilst we may say that the service sector is crucial, we must be mindful of the fact that when we say services are produced…it produces an excellent service but it requires the input of certain material that goes into the process that can be produced locally and must be respected,” he stated.
Mr. Samuda noted that the tourism sector is one which needs to be reviewed as “we cannot, as a country, continue to produce and deliver only a quarter of the food that is consumed by the tourist in this country..what is worse, it is a terrible endorsement and the lack of initiative of Jamaican producers of furnishing that goes into hotels where 90 (or more) per cent of all that is used has to be imported.” The Commerce Minister noted that as a country that boasts some of the finest craftsmen in the world, where in the past visitors have purchased such pieces to have as prize possession, in the hotels, this tremendous opportunity is lost because these items are not produced in sufficient quantities and consistent qualities to be able to attract sales.
“We must collectively work together to ensure that we not only produce what we can consume but what we can export, especially within the Caribbean region where the other hotels have to import most of what they consume in the industry,” he said.
The National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ), is the Certification Unit within the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), and certification of the management systems will be its core function. Upon attaining international accreditation as a competent certification body, the NCBJ will offer a variety of services, including but not limited to: certification of systems to International Organization for Standards (ISO) 9001: 2000 and ISO 14001: 2004. The NCBJ seeks to achieve institutional strengthening and promotion of the national quality infrastructure, and ensure that the Bureau’s competence in the certification of local companies, meet the requirements of rigorous international standards.