Fri | Jan 15, 2021

Sector groups: Increase business hours

Published:Saturday | May 9, 2020 | 12:16 AM

No sooner than the Government’s announced its intention to restart the economy, private sector groups are advocating for longer working hours to fast-track recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a collaborative move, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) and the MSME Alliance are recommending a reduction of the current curfew hours.

Instead of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the respective bodies are asking for three hours to be added to the workday.

This would mean the proposed curfew hours would be 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for non-essential workers.

Phased opening

The organisations are proposing a phased opening of the economy.

“This measure will allow for more economic activity and workforce productivity, particularly our micro, small and medium-size enterprises, our most vulnerable, that represents over 70 per cent of the economy,” a statement from the private sector bodies declared.

The groups say they are committed to continue adherence to strict observance of established social distancing, sanitising and mask-wearing protocols to protect employees and customers.

They also pledged to support the Government to identify other measures to stimulate growth while protecting the health of Jamaicans.

The Government has established a multisectoral task force to craft plans on kick-starting the economy that has been impacted severely by the pandemic.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the Jamaican economy will contract by up to 5.6 per cent this year.