Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Hold me accountable - JMA head

Published:Saturday | July 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Metry Seaga

Inexpensive financing, affordable factory space and a revised procurement policy are the priority agenda items for the Metry Seaga-led Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) after Seaga was returned to office unopposed for a next year during the association's 70th annual general meeting last Wednesday. Dennis Valdez, managing director of Newport Fersan Jamaica Limited, who did not seek re-election was replaced by Richard Coe, general manager of Fleetwood.

Seaga charged the JMA membership to hold him accountable on his promise to deliver on the three big-ticket items which have stymied the growth of small businesses, especially.

"I expect you to hold me to that, and you have my commitment that I will fight with every ounce of strength that I have to ensure that the most important industry in this country is treated with the respect it deserves," the JMA head said.

Affordable factory space

On the issue of adequate and affordable factory space, Seaga admitted that despite his best efforts, much more needs to be done, but negotiations with the Factories Corporations of Jamaica (FCJ) are beginning to bear fruit.

"Since my tenure, I have failed to deliver a comprehensive factory infrastructure programme for the industry. However, I will be so bold to say today that in as short as six, but no longer than 18 months, the JMA, in partnership with Factories Corporation of Jamaica, will be working to deliver suitable spaces at affordable rates to the industry."

Much progress has been made in convincing the Government, the largest purchaser of goods and services, to change its purchasing policy in favour of local manufacturers, according to the JMA president, who told his members to prepare to take advantage of the pending change.

"We encourage members to register with the National Contract Committee so that when this law is passed, you can take full advantage," he appealed.

The JMA president says he plans to advocate for a removal of the disparity which sees the business process outsourcing and tourism sectors enjoying single-digit interest rates, a courtesy which is not extended to manufacturers.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com