KINGSTON — Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon Karl Samuda, has assured manufacturers that the Government will not impose taxes on the sector, which could affect their production.
“I can assure you, as the Minister responsible for this sector, that this Government has no intention of engaging in any exercise that is going to in any way, reduce the effectiveness of the manufacturing sector through the imposition of any tax that is now not imposed on the sector,” Mr. Samuda said.
He assured manufacturers that, the effect of whatever system is put in place will not be detrimental to the sector.
“So, no matter what you hear from whomever and from whatever, I can tell you that, as long as I am the Minister in charge of this sector, you can count on me to fight fiercely against any person or persons who wish to put the manufacturing sector at a disadvantage,” he stated.
Mr. Samuda was speaking at the launch of Phase Three of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association’s (JMA) “Buy Jamaican, Build Jamaica” campaign, at the Design by Marc complex, Spanish Town Road, Kingston, on Tuesday (April 12).
He said that manufacturers have to fight hard enough to survive, let alone to have imposed on them taxes that will make them less competitive.
The assurance comes against the background of what, he said, was concern being voiced by sector interests about the industry’s future, in light of the announcement of the administration’s move to establish a comprehensive tax package regime.
Mr. Samuda said that the industry has been hampered by a number of factors inimical to manufacturing, primarily high interest rate regimes, because the turnover level in manufacturing is much slower and, therefore, the impact of interest charges is much greater.
“It’s not like a retailer who can withstand that one percent a week interest, because the product that they are selling turns over several times a week, let alone per month. In the manufacturing sector, when you have to convert from raw material to finished goods and then market it, it is a long process and, therefore, your costs, in terms of interest charges and carrying costs, are much higher,” he explained.
“I am fierce in my defence of manufacturing,” Mr. Samuda added. He explained that his position was the result of his belief in the sector as the basis on which employment can be created in the shortest possible time, and can be sustainable.
The Buy Jamaican, Build Jamaica campaign, being sponsored by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) Group to the tune of $12 million, aims to heighten and foster greater support for locally manufactured products by Jamaican consumers.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter