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Samuda - competitiveness in the manufacturing sector needs review


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November 2017
 

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, speaking at the launch and commissioning of ARC Manufacturing Limited’s new Fabric Mesh Plant, held at its facility located on Bell Road, Kingston, on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. The new Fabric Mesh Plant is positioned to boost the fabric mesh industry. The investment in the plant is expected to result in improved efficiencies, optimized productivity and bring increased visibility to brand Jamaica.

Above Body

 23 Nov 2017    communications   

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says that there needs to be a review of Jamaica’s competitiveness in the manufacturing sector, because the country’s competitiveness has not been where it should have been over the years.

‘We find that we have the distributive trade, which is the largest contributor to GDP, growing, and it is too large in relation to the manufacturing sector. We should adjust that and allow the manufacturing sector to take its appropriate place as the leader in our economy as it creates jobs”, Minister Samuda asserted.

The Minister, who was speaking at the launch and commissioning of ARC Manufacturing Limited’s new fabric mesh plant at the company’s facilities at 14 Bell Road, Kingston, on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, stated that the manufacturing sector is a premium sector that is able to withstand some of the same pressures that are applied to the agricultural sector.

He lauded ARC Manufacturing on its expansion programme and on the use and application of new technologies, which he said is a step in the right direction.

“What I would like to see though is this factory with its size, with its equipment, new technologies and with its kind of leadership, not only producing goods, adding value, but going one step further into producing, perhaps, one of the most needed things in our country today, contributing to the housing stock in its final stages. We have to find more creative ways to increase our competitiveness in this sector, and that is what I want to see happening in the manufacturing sector in Jamaica”, the Minister added.

In the meantime, chairman and managing director of ARC Manufacturing Limited, Mr. Norman Horne is calling on the Government for more protection for local manufacturers. He said this is something that other countries have been doing.

“We see more and more where global companies are advocating for greater levels of incentives in their domestic economy to produce. Those incentives are in many forms to include that of establishing trade barriers that provide incentives for your domestic manufacturers. There are little to no barriers to entries for manufacturers of building materials since 1994. I do believe that as manufacturers here we have the capacity to satisfy the domestic market, therefore, there should be more barriers to entry for competing products. These barriers to entry are not to be seen as an advocacy for protection, but more so as incentives to put Jamaicans to work”, Mr. Horne said.

The new fabric mesh plant, an investment of J$200 million , features an innovative and state- of-the-art fabric mesh production line for the reinforcement of concrete, capable of producing fabric mesh sheet and rolls at high speed for the local and export market.

ARC Manufacturing Ltd. is one of Jamaica’s leading manufacturers and distributors of building materials. The company employs 306 workers.
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